The summer has laid claim to Mason and now most days the thermometer easily reaches 100 degrees and we all suffer every time we go outside. The heat has now dried up all the moisture from the spring rains and wildfires are again making their presence felt throughout Texas. In addition, the City water supplies are being strained as everyone tries to keep their landscape fresh and green, and the electric service is reaching the high demands we regularly see in extreme weather. All of the City services are working and functioning well, but now is the time to consider conserving water and electricity to keep your utility bills reasonable in the next couple of months. We have not seen any of the significant water level drops that we were concerned about last year, but the residents need to remember to conserve now to preserve the water resources for the future. The City has voluntary water conservation measures in place and is asking our residents to only water between 7:00 pm and 9:00 am rather than in the heat of the day.
As student activities begin again in the next few weeks, we are seeing a decrease in the children using the City swimming pool and in the availability of our lifeguards, particularly those who are going off to college. For the first time in several years, the City is looking to extend the swimming season into the month of August, but we do not have lifeguards available after August 18. Therefore, there are two more full weeks for our children and adults to enjoy swimming in the City pool, and we will be trying to schedule for some additional hours after school starts and to be available for scheduled parties on the weekends. With limited lifeguards we can only be open through August 18 for certain, so that we can provide a safe and fun activity; but if we can make arrangements we will maintain the pool and be open longer. If you have questions or want more information, please call the City Administrator and we will try to make some accommodations.
The other main activity of each summer around the City office is to complete the budget for the coming fiscal year. We have worked on this for several weeks, and are close to reaching final decisions, but if you have concerns or ideas for projects the City needs to consider for the coming months, now is the time to talk with your Commissioner and explore their feasibility. We have several significant Capital Projects on the horizon, and balancing the budget is always a challenge in that situation. We are looking at the possibility of some very specified rate increases, such as limited charges for brush and limbs at the landfill or additional rate increases for large volume water users, but no significant rate changes that would affect most of our residents. We are also anticipating little or no change in the City property tax rate, particularly with the increases in the appraised values and the additional strain that has put on some of our tax payers. The City of Mason is in excellent financial health and our commitment is that we will pay close attention to that and work to keep your hometown healthy and ready for the future. With your help and support we will continue to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas and a great place for all of us to live and work.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley