Several things are happening around the City that I want you to be aware of. After all the talk over the past several months about “Stimulus” money, the City has been notified about the first portion that we will receive. Through the State Energy Conservation Office we will get $20,000 to spend in some way to save energy and to provide a long-term benefit to our citizens. I am looking into the feasibility of changing a number of street lights from the “light up the neighborhood” type to a higher efficiency and reflector-directed light that will just illuminate the street area with little wasted light. We have begun using these lights when we replace fixtures around town, but a program to increase these changes should provide better lighting and save electricity for years to come.
Another way we can save money around town is to encourage others to stop abusing or stealing the street signs and traffic control signs in Mason. I have just approved a purchase of $3,000 for signs to replace ones that are missing or badly damaged throughout town, and our Street Department will spend several days installing these. This is 130 signs that have been removed from their proper location, and this is a problem and possible hazard to all of us when emergency vehicles, or just unfamiliar drivers, are unable to find where they need to go. We at the City are trying to be frugal where we can and continue to provide good service for our citizens, but it is difficult when we have to spend money to correct problems that other people cause.
Several other activities are going on around the City. We are working at the Waste Water Treatment Plant to increase the efficiency there as well as correcting a couple of recently identified problems. The surveying and engineering is underway for the next phases of the water main system for the north side of town. The Electric Department is working toward replacing the last 25 transformers on the old low-voltage system so that the entire city system is fully upgraded. The City Commission will be meeting next Monday to consider several issues, including authorizing the sale of three parcels of land by sealed bid, several resolutions so that we can move forward and receive two different grants, and a few other items of a financial and administrative nature.
The other issue that has been on many citizens’ mind is the threat of high voltage electric transmission lines routing through Mason County and very near to the city limits. On Thursday last week a group of businessmen and individuals gathered, discussed and proceeded to form a citizen committee to focus the local concerns about this possible intrusion. Because of the nature of our elected positions, Judge Bearden and I, as well as the other local elected officials, can not officially be a part of this committee, but be assured that we will continue to do all that we can to keep you informed and fight this possible challenge to our community. At this time the route under consideration is being mapped and examined, and LCRA will host Open Houses in the area in early 2010 to explain and solicit input concerning the routing and personal effects that we anticipate. What we need to be doing is writing letters to the Public Utility Commission and LCRA-TSC to express our concern, and encouraging others to be aware of the possible effects this might have on us. The danger is that we will become complacent and will not take appropriate action in the weeks and months to come, and then a decision might be made next year that will affect our community for generations to come. If you need more information or contact addresses, keep your eye on this newspaper, ask your elected officials, or come by the City Hall and we will give you all the information we have.
Mason is a wonderful community, and the recent rains have kept everything green and looking fresh; our job as your representatives is to work diligently to improve our town. If you have concerns or suggestions, every elected official is always available and you can find me most every day in the City Office, and we would all like to hear from you. If you would like to email me, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to get your message and reply if needed. Mason is the best hometown in Central Texas, and with your help we will work together to keep it that way and leave it as a better place for our children and grandchildren.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley