Mason County News
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City Corner
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 • Posted November 6, 2013

The City is constantly working to provide better services and take care of all of the various projects that our residents anticipate around town. Next week we are pleased to have some days set aside for free dumping at the City Landfill for our citizens who need to do a little extra cleaning up before the holidays. We particularly are hoping that some of the dead and dying vegetation, trees and tree limbs, and all yard debris can be gathered and taken to the brush pile at the landfill, at no cost, so that our neighborhoods are safe from the extra possibilities of fire after the severe droughts of the past couple of years. As usual we cannot take chemicals or hazardous materials, but we will take all other household garbage and trash on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with no dump charge for our citizens. At the same time, all next week, we will be sponsoring a used tire collection at the Recycle Center on Ave F for all car and truck tires that are no longer useful. There is a small charge for transportation costs, but this is a great opportunity to dispose of old tires that seem to have no more use than collecting water and breeding mosquitoes, so if you have a few around your property load them up and bring them in to get them recycled and gone.

In other areas of the City there is plenty of work going on as well. The electric crews are working to replace some electric poles around town to bring them up to higher standards, and are also turning their attention to the Christmas decorations and building lighting for the holidays so that they are all ready in time for Light Up Our Town on Thanksgiving weekend. The contracts have all been signed for the renovations and construction at the sewer plant so that project should be well underway before the first of the year. The street crew, park crew and the water department are also working on their regular jobs as well as some special projects to improve our town. We are always looking for ways to improve the community of Mason, and if you have any ideas, suggestion or concerns we would be glad to hear from you.

On a very different note, we have recently discovered that one of the new services that we started, thinking that it would be a new benefit to some of our residents, has suddenly turned out to have a rather expensive side effect that we had no previous knowledge of. For the past two weeks I have been writing that we were offering a new service of E-pay for utility bills and other City fees, and I have encouraged our residents to sign up. Today I have to change my tune and say sincerely “I APPOLOGIZE” for causing a problem that I cannot believe is a benefit to our citizens! On November 1st when we first began accepting e-payments through the internet, everyone in the City office was shocked to discover that the customer was being charged a “convenience fee” for using the service if about 3% when we had not realized there was any extra fees. Maybe in a big city it is worth some extra fee not to have to drive and stand in line to pay a bill, but in Mason where every customer is less than a mile from the City office and we work at serving everyone who walks through the door within a minute or two, even on a very busy day, using the internet for bill payments is not a convenience that is worth several dollars to most of us! No one on the City staff had any expectation of this new FEE, and I certainly would not have approved it if I had known, and so we are immediately removing the e-pay option from our services until we can find a way to provide a similar service as a true benefit without the unacceptable costs. Our mission in the City of Mason is to provide the very best service at the most reasonable costs to our citizens, and this situation has completely surprised us with the unknown costs, and I AM SINCERELY SORRY for any problems or concerns this may have caused to even one of the residents of our community. If you have used this e-pay service and been charged the extra “convenience fee” just let us know and the City will gladly refund your extra expense.

Mason is a great town, and we all recognize that because of our small size and rural location we cannot have everything that the big cities offer. But we also know that because of that we have some very special benefits, such as truly knowing your neighbor, not having any traffic to fight, being able to walk and visit your way through daily business, seeing the stars at night and not being blinded by too many signs and too much activity. My goal is to continue to improve our community in “Mason friendly” ways and to avoid the problems caused by too many “big city” ways, and I hope that you will let me know your views and help us all work together for the improvement and benefit of our town and our neighbors.

Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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