This past Monday evening the City Commission met at the Eckert Civic Center and there were a couple of important pieces of business that I wanted to share with you. The first was to administer the oath of office to three of our City elected officials. Although there have been a number of important elections this spring, in the City there were no candidates other than the incumbents and so we were able to “call” the elections and completed the process Monday to keep Sabin Nelson and John Gammill as Commissioners and myself as Mayor for another two year term. This continues a strong City Commission that has been working for several years to move Mason forward and provide the infrastructure that we need to serve the coming generations.
We also spent time at the Commission meeting discussing the new Electric Interconnectivity Agreement and Policy which will allow homeowners who choose to install solar panels or some other “green” energy source to connect to the City electric system and have the advantages of new and regular City power supply. This is one more way we are looking toward the future, although we did not move to fully approve the new agreements until after our City Attorney has an opportunity to carefully review the legal documents involved. We also discussed and made some revisions to the Rate and Fee schedule that have become necessary to cover the actual costs of some of our services. Most of the changes will not affect our residents and only increase fees for new construction connections to utilities, and a few will impact those who use some of the individual City facilities. For instance, we are in the process of installing air conditioning in the Community Building and so we added a rental fee for use of that building with the extra benefit of cooling or heat to offset our additional costs for extra electricity. We also increased the base rate for sewer service by a small amount of just 75 cents, and a little more for extra usage, to provide for some cost recovery of the expenses of construction and improvements at the waste water treatment plant. We kept that increase a small as reasonable and calculated the cost recovery for the significant and important changes in our treatment plant based on a twenty-five year payback, which we hope will not be too much of a burden on anyone in Mason.
The other important action from Monday’s meeting was the approval for moving forward to install a new emergency warning siren system in the City to replace the older current system. This is the warning that is used to alert our residents of approaching bad weather or possible tornado, and for years we have relied on a single siren located near the library in the center of town. The new system, which should be installed and active in about six to eight weeks, is based on three individual siren locations that project the warning tones in all directions at once and overlap to provide complete coverage throughout the City limits and approximately a half mile beyond. This should significantly increase the awareness of dangerous situations to all areas and the Commission felt that it was distinctly in the best interest of our citizens to move forward and get this system in place to help protect and communicate serious weather issues to everyone.
The final concern that was briefly discussed, but for which we have not yet taken direct action is the need for everyone to be careful in their day to day use of water around our homes. Our local water resources have continued to be adequate during the past several years, however with the overall dry conditions and the approach of hot weather we need to be extra diligent about reducing any unnecessary water usage. Many other cities are critically concerned about their lack of water resources, and we in Mason need to be concerned that we do not waste any of this precious resource in our homes and yards. Please regulate your landscape watering to the morning hours and use only as much water as needed, and consider the ways you can reduce water usage in your home or business. I will be writing more about this in the coming weeks as we begin our summer and deal with the increasingly hot days, but we need to start now to remember the lessons of the past few years of dry weather and prepare for what may be another very dry season. Mason is a great place to live and work and together we can continue to make it the best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent