This Friday is the eighth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack to ever strike on American soil, and if you do not fly a flag at other times of the year, this would be a particularly meaningful day to fly Old Glory. We can all be proud of the way America has pulled together, not letting political differences separate us, but all working toward what is best for our country and protecting democracy here and abroad from those who would destroy what we hold dear. Mason itself is a proud place, patriotically flying the flag around the square for every patriotic holiday, and supporting our neighbors in real ways as we work together to live in our beautiful hometown. Just look around and you can see many different things to be proud of locally, in our great state, and nationally.
I have had a few questions in the past week, and I would like to take a moment to let you know some of what is going on around town. Several people have noticed the surveyors working on the north and west sides of town and have asked what is going on. They are doing the preliminary work for the new water main that should begin construction during the next year. This water main will connect our new water tower with the neighborhoods north and east of the square and provide more water and a better water pressure in those areas. I will let you know more about that project as it progresses. I was also asked about the utility work being done on El Paso and around the square; that is for the new fiber optic lines that will soon be available to our business community through HCTC, and may in the future be spread into our residential areas if enough interest is shown. Many small towns are working and trying to get fiber optic service, and HCTC is eagerly providing it for us which will give us another tool to meet the needs of the future in Mason.
Another area that needs to be talked about is the water usage around town. Many towns have imposed mandatory water conservation measures, and I have relied on the hometown spirit we see locally to not have to make too much of an issue of water. However, with the continued dry heat we are having, we need to remind everyone to limit outdoor watering and to conservatively use water for your daily needs. In August we pumped over 30 Million gallons of water which was 25% more than August last year, and the most we have ever pumped in one month; and although we have not seen any wells “run dry” we are concerned that this is putting a stress on the water table and our future ability to supply the water you need. I still believe that our town has the kind of pride and spirit that cooperates and does not require “mandatory” rules, but I would encourage you and your neighbors to be careful and aware of your water usage and curtail any unnecessary landscape watering or other wasteful uses.
There is one other important issue that has merited a few letters to the editor and some talk around town. It seems that there has been a renewed push to consider “improving” the local high voltage transmission lines to be able to carry the new electric generation load from the wind-farms in West Texas to the metropolitan areas. The Public Utilities Commission will be considering this issue in the next couple of months, and LCRA who will be building this transmission line has identified a route a fair distance to the south and west of Mason; however some of the effected landowners are suggesting that the route be changed to come through Mason. The City and County will both be considering resolutions at their next meetings on Monday, but I feel that this is something that our citizens need to realize is being considered. If the route were changed to use the old West Texas Utilities right-of-way, it would come into Mason from the Menard highway, go to the west and south of town just outside the city limits and continue down Hwy 87 towards Fredericksburg. The real problem is that the transmission lines would be supported by numerous towers, each as much as 180 feet tall that would tower over the new water tower on the west of town and be visible from most places around Mason on the horizon beyond the site of Fort Mason on the south. This would pose a very unsightly intrusion on the historic and scenic nature of our rural town, and would be a blight on the natural beauty our residents enjoy, as well as a burden to the tourism trade, for many years to come. If you would like more information, please be sure and seek out someone who can give you real information. The decision is not to be made for several more weeks, and it is honestly not likely to be moved to involve Mason, but we all need to be aware of the potential impact on our beautiful hometown. If you would like to write a letter of concern to the PUC, I can give you the correct address, and if you want more information, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Mason is very truly a wonderful hometown. We are all working together to make it better for future generations. If you have ideas, suggestions or concerns please let your elected officials know or come to our next City Commission meeting on Monday, September 14, at the Richard P. Eckert Civic Center at 5:00 pm. We will be discussing the budget for next year, the tax rate, the new water main project and the grant that will help fund it, and several other items, so we would be glad to have you there to listen and express your interest. A growing community is made of many different people with different ideas and concerns, but working together our community will continue to grow into the best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley