The Mason Study Club met on February 23 in the Stribling Room of the Mason County Library. Hostesses were Florence Smith, Deanna Handlin, Gerry Daniel, and Mary Freytag. Vice-President Diane Evans introduced our speaker, Judge Jerry Bearden who presented the program, "Outlook for Mason County". He began by talking about the past year and all the county went through with the CREZ Transmission lines possibly going through Mason County. The final decision of the PUC was not to put them through Mason and Menard counties, but that doesn’t mean that sometime in the future we won’t face these types of encroachment again.
Looking into what’s in store for 2011 are, of course, the budget cuts in the state budget which in turn means budget cuts for the counties in Texas. There will be many cuts that will affect our county including cuts in road and bridge repairs, EMS service, County Extension agents, the school district, and many others. One of the most difficult problems for our county are the unfunded state mandates which mean we must come up with the monies ourselves. Our courthouse renovation will be put on hold for this Legislative biennium and we can only hope that the 2013-2014 biennium will be better off financially. We will now have to come with money to do some of the needed repairs to the courthouse ourselves. There are also new redistricting issues which will affect Mason County.
Another challenge will be private property rights and issues concerning energy resources of which there are many pros and cons.
The judge noted that Mason County has always endured regardless of state mandates and we’ll continue to do so. We’ve had many new residents make Mason County their home and they are willing to volunteer their time and effort in making this county a better place to live.