Mason County News
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City Corner
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • Posted September 21, 2011

A week ago the City Commission met and approved several items that will have an impact on all of our residents, and I would like to take a few minutes to inform you and provide some of the reasoning behind those decisions. One of those decisions affects most everyone in Mason as I explained in last week’s column, and reflects some changes in the Water Conservation and Drought Plan. The Commission tightened the restrictions to allow only one day a week for everyone to water your lawn, and that watering only between 7:00 pm and 9:00 am, with no one allowed to water on Mondays. There was also a change to the penalty schedule for violators, and the City mailed a copy of the restrictions to all water customers this week and will start enforcing this regulation because of the on-going dry weather. If we do not protect the water supply we have now, there might not be enough water in the future for everyone to enjoy. Another water related issue that was discussed and approved were the contracts to replace all of the water meters around the City with electronic water meters. The crews have already started working to replace the meters, and although the work will take about two months for the entire city, there have been a few questions that have come up that need to be answered. One reason that we are going ahead with replacing the water meters and not the electric meters at this time is that the water meters required considerably more time and effort in the reading process each month. Water meters often have to be dug out to be read, our crews regularly run into spiders and occasionally snakes, and the assortment of old meters around the City require differing patterns to read resulting in misreads and many have scratched and obscure glass faces that make accurate reading nearly impossible. We send employees out to do rereads on water meters every month more than ten times as often as electric meters. In addition, the new electronic meters will indicate how much water is used and at what times of day or night for each meter location, and with this information we can answer our resident’s questions and be able to tell if there is a leak on the property and let the customer know if there is some maintenance that needs to be done. This new system will save a tremendous number of man-hours of labor each year, will be a new tool in our efforts to enhance our community’s water conservation, and at an actual cost of about half of the cost mentioned in the rumors, it should save us enough on labor expenses and water wastage to pay for itself in the first two years of service. This is one more example of how your current City government is working to provide excellent utility services and do so in a modern, efficient and beneficial manner.In addition to water issues, the City Commission did have a few other important issues to deal with. The budget for the coming fiscal year and the tax rate for 2011 were both approved as submitted, and the Commission moved the next regular meeting to October 27 to avoid Columbus Day and allow better preparation, and the November meeting to Nov. 21. There was a lengthy discussion about the aging sewer plant that serves the City, and the decision was made to pursue permitting amendments and engineering planning to rebuild the plant to enhance the efficiency and to provide new alternatives rather than just spending a lot of money to maybe fix some of the problems with the existing ponds and facilities. The next step of this major project will take several months, but I will keep you informed of the plans and construction as they are determined. The Commission also authorized the City Administrator to move forward with subdividing the property known as the Northside Center on Mesquite St. and advertising for sealed bids to sell the house and three lots; notices for this will be in this paper in the next week or two. There are always several on-going projects around the City that we are working on to improve our town. I try to keep our community informed of the specific work you can expect to see happening around town, but if you have questions or see something that needs attention please let us know. You can send your questions or concerns to me at brent.hinckley@cityofmason.us or call the City offices at 325-347-6449 and someone will be glad to try and help you. We cannot always make everyone happy as we work to solve problems around town, but we will certainly try to explain and correct any complaints within our power. Together we will continue to work to make Mason the best hometown in the Hill Country, and I appreciate every effort that our citizens and our employees make to help improve our community.Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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