We continue to make progress around the city offices and around town as the cooler weather comes to the area. Although we were well prepared for problems and emergency situations arising from Hurricane Ike, nothing developed in the Hill Country even though I am sure we would have all welcomed some needed rain. The paving around town is completed, the water tower is beginning to take shape on the west side, the electric crews continue to work to improve the distribution system, and the horses that Animal Control Officer Barbie McGowan has been caring for and dealing with are beginning to find new homes. The City Commission has completed the budget decisions and will meet next Monday, September 15, 2008, to approve a balanced budget for the next fiscal year beginning in November, along with the new tax rate. After much deliberation, the Commission will also vote on the first rate increases for city services in the past three years. With the prices for virtually everything skyrocketing and the uncertainty in the economy, I am very pleased that we can still balance the budget, keep the city property taxes to one of the lowest in the state, and not need more than a 10% rate increase at this time. I would say things are really pretty good in our hometown!
One of the areas we have seen improvements in the past few months is at the Recycling Center on Avenue F. We now have two full time employees taking care of this part of the city business, and with the recycling trailers parked around town and the increased drop-offs at the Center; it is evident that our citizens are committed to the idea of recycling. We have seen an increase in the cardboard, paper and plastics that are being sent off for reprocessing, and not only is there an increase in the income from this department, but more importantly we are reducing a larger amount of garbage that would be going into our landfill. One new addition to the Recycling Center has be the installation of a new baler to help with the additional recycling load. This was a much needed supplement to the older and overworked original baler, and it allows the workers to complete two different types of bales at one time as well as assuring us that we are never “out of business” if the one baler should quit at sometime. This new baler was purchased with the aid of a grant from the Concho Valley Council of Governments, and like the two recycling trailers that were also purchased with the aid of a similar grant, help us to provide full services to our community. Every item that you drop off at the Center or place in one of the trailers is one more thing that will not be filling up our landfill and thus will help us to continue providing for the future of Mason. If you have not already started to recycle, it does not require much extra effort and I can say from my own experience, it is a benefit to each of us individually and one way each of us can help the entire community.
So often the things that take up so much of our time every day seem to have no impact on the future. But just like recycling, many of the decisions that get made around the city office seem to impact not just today but the future generations as well. I am pleased to know that the City of Mason is doing well today, but I am even more pleased as I see the actions today that will benefit our community for many years to come. You can be a part of the positive movement to improve our hometown for the future by recycling, by conserving water, and by helping to improve our community in many different ways. If you know of some way we can continue to build for the future, please let me know and I will try to help. Our community is the best hometown in Texas, and if we continue to work together it will be the best for many years to come.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley