It looks and feels like spring is trying to come to Mason, but without some rain it may not be as green or as full of wildflowers as we often enjoy. Keep praying for rain, and please remember it is impossible to make up for a dry spring with a yard sprinkler. I appreciate your concern to keep your yards alive and thriving, but everyone needs to realize that if the spring and summer are as dry as we are expecting, then the City’s water system is going to be under additional stress to meet the needs of our citizens and our water bills will be quite high when the hot and dry summer months come.
Even as we see dry weather in the forecast, the City crews are working to prepare for the next big rain that might come. For the past several weeks we have been cleaning out the dirt and silt that has accumulated through the years in Gamel Creek as it comes through town. We have cleaned the creek bed and under the bridges just to the south of the Square, and we will continue to clean the creek bed and the overgrown vegetation as the creek continues south. As we complete this phase of our creek clearing then we will move on to other water ways in the City with the expectation that over several months we will give all of the creek beds in town a much needed cleaning that in most cases has not happened in several years. One question keeps coming up about the dirt we are removing and, although we are not able to make that available to citizens that might want it, the City is planning to use it wisely. In the spirit of "recycling" we are stockpiling it at the landfill because we have to cover our daily loads of trash to meet the regulations and we are currently out of dirt for daily cover.
While I am talking about the Landfill, the City has set the time for the Spring Free Dump in about three weeks. It is scheduled for the second weekend in April, being the 8th and 9th, but we are waiting to advertise the exact times until we get permission from our TCEQ regulators to extend the landfill hours for those couple of days. I expect we will allow for free dumping during regular hours Thursday, and extend the time for a couple hours on Friday and Saturday, but we have to wait for approval before we can set the exact times. This will be a regular spring clean-up and free dump, but there will not be any special collections such as tires or paints at this time. There will be more information in next week’s paper so if you are interested please look there for details. Also, be aware that if you are a regular customer of the City trash pickup we allow free dumping of any yard debris, vegetation and limb cuttings in the brush pile at any time.
In the area of recycling, the City was recently awarded a grant for the Recycling Center on Ave F and we are considering how best to use this money to meet the needs there. There will be some new bins for the recycled materials and we are looking at other ways we can improve the material handling and reduce the possibility of confusion. We also hope to increase the safety for our citizens as well as our employees, as they participate in this important program of our community. Over the past couple of years Recycling has significantly grown to be a major part of the way the City handles waste, and because of the increased participation of our citizens the volume and variety of materials we accept has continued to grow. At the same time we have had a remarkable effect on the landfill as we keep these materials out of the pits, and we believe we have prolonged the landfill life a year or more just from the efforts of our community to recycle.
There are many good programs and projects of the City coming in the next few months. We have just completed the water main construction on the north side of town and we are working towards another grant to continue the water system improvements. The electric system is in better shape than it has ever been, and there are still a few projects to improve it even more. LCRA is working to complete the upgrade of the high voltage power line that comes from the east and supplies the electricity to the substation to the south of town, and then provides electricity to all of our community. We are working to improve the swimming pool and maintain the parks so that we are prepared for the extra usage this spring and summer. The waste water treatment system is functioning better than it has for years, and there are still some improvements that we will be looking to incorporate in the next few months. Overall, I believe that the City of Mason is in great shape, and together we will continue to see improvements and things getting better. If you have ideas or suggestions that will help us as we work to make this the best hometown in Texas, please take a minute and let one of your elected officials know and we will see how we can include your ideas in the future of Mason.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley