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City of Mason, Texas Mason, Texas - Gem of the Hill Country Lone Star Cut Topaz - Official Gemstone of Texas!

City Hall 

P.O. Box 68
Mason, TX  76856

124 Moody Street
Phone: 325-347-6449
Fax: 325-347-5955

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Fort Mason City Park

1015 San Antonio Hwy (Hwy 87 N)

Mason, TX 76856


Electric Crew on the job.

CITY COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING Monday October 17th , 2016 @ 5:30

Public Hearing Monday October 17th @ 5:15

Richard P. Eckert Civic Center




      IT'S THE LAW: Call 1-800-245-4545 or 811 before you dig. You may also go online at and click "For Excavators" for additional information.


The City of Mason is an Equal Opportunity Employer; 

Supporter of Equal Housing Opportunity; Citizen Participation; the Fair Housing Policy; and the Americans with Disabilities Act.


 The City of Mason has established MANDATORY water restrictions for the remainder of the hot dry weather we are experiencing.  It is in everyone’s best interest if you can limit outdoor watering, and follow the procedures of all even numbered houses watering either on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday and all odd numbered houses watering either on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.  In addition we ask each water customer to water no more than twice a week, and only before the hour of 9:00am in the morning and after the hour of 6:00 pm in the evening, or limiting to hand watering at other times. 



 City Corner

October 17, 2016

To: City Commissioners, City Administrator, City Secretary, City Attorney,          Local Press, and Concerned Citizens

From:  Mayor Brent Hinckley


     After reading Commissioner Pledger’s comments in the October 12 Mason Co. News, I felt that it was important to provide some researched and corrected information to fill in the gaps in her statements.   For instance, she states her goal was “to look into ways to cut city spending, so we could give people relief on their electric bills” however a comparative look at historical data suggests cutting spending is not a valid approach.  In September 2010 the City as a whole used 1,539,933 kW of electricity and the billing cost was 12.3954 cents per kW hour; in September 2016 the City as a whole used 2,161,459 kW and the billing cost was 11.3737 cents per kW hour.  My conclusion is that the City has reduced the cost by one cent per kw/hr or about 8% so that the residents are paying less for their electricity; however there is a 40% greater usage and therefore the residents are having to pay for the luxury of enjoying more electric comfort.  This shows a need for education and conservation, not that reducing City spending will have even a minor impact in reduced utility billing.

     The article goes on to cite details from the recent Audit that in one portion indicate a loss in one fund of the City accounting.  The Auditor, Keith Neffendorf, has provided the following comments regarding the criticism and concerns:  “The Governmental Funds did operate at an $118,939 deficit for the year ended October 31, 2015.  However, the beginning Fund Balance (Equity account – prior year surpluses) was $136,118 therefore spending did not exceed fund balance.   In prior years the debt service payments for the Tax Notes Series 2013 were accounted for and paid out of the Utility Fund (Enterprise Fund).  This debt is required to be accounted for in the Debt Service Fund (Governmental Fund) not the Utility Fund.  The City had not received the correct guidance in accounting for this debt.  The total principal and interest payment for the Tax Note Series 2013 for the year ended was $144,945.  The City had not budgeted a transfer to the Debt Service Fund for this amount because they were unaware of the problem.  Prior to the correction of the accounting the Governmental Funds had a gain of $26,006.”

     As far as the financial health and viability of the City of Mason and the impact of the “deficit”, the Auditors also commented “Governmental Funds are not designed to make money.  It is rare to receive enough tax money to support all the maintenance and operations necessary to keep the City running.   It is common practice to budget transfers from the Utility Funds to subsidize the projects accounted for in the governmental funds.  The Utility Fund incurred a loss in the amount of $13,328 for the year ended after transfers of $976,439 out to the Governmental Funds but the beginning net position (Equity – prior year surpluses) was $4,786,205.   Overall the City has adequate surpluses of $4,790,056 (Governmental Fund $17,179 and Utility Fund $4,772,877).”

     The Commissioner’s Comments also went on to express concern about the Investment Report and long term savings of the City and reviews the various accounts that we hold and administer.   All of the individual account balances that are mentioned are accurate, however the only fund that is obligated and which cannot be changed or modified is the Fireman Pension Fund of $16,512 and all of the other funds are established and can be changed at the discretion of the Commission or City staff.  The principal balance of over one million dollars IS available if necessary for whatever uses are considered important, but these funds are set aside for the longer range goals and critical contingencies that arise in the life of our community.  There are also comments regarding the established CDs that are identified as Operating Accounts for the Utility Fund, and admittedly that is how they have been utilized during the past couple of years as we have completely renovated and rebuilt our Waste Water Treatment Plant, purchased two large pieces of heavy equipment to replace thirty year old equipment that is used every day,  improved the water distribution system, and dealt with vehicle replacement and other less costly improvements to City facilities.  We have completed over two million dollars of improvements in the past three years, and to meet the cash flow needs we have utilized a portion of the savings we had set aside.  However, what is not noticed or commented on is that the Operating Funds which represent the checking account that is used for daily expenses has increased and is at the time of that report $122,170 greater than two years previous.  With the end of the fiscal year in the next couple of weeks I have been working with the City staff to determine how much money should be reinvested in an Operating CD, and have given instructions to set aside $150,000 in a replacement CD.  In my business opinion and with the minimal return on invested funds due to low interest rates, there is little benefit for money held in CDs, and the primary ongoing concern in operating the City is cash flow rather than asset accumulation. 

     One other comment is a significant misquoting of my comments and certainly does not reflect my intentions or expectations.  It was stated that the “mayor recently addressed at our city commissioner meeting raising our water rates as one way to get more income to pay for our city’s budgeted expenses” and this is entirely incorrect.  In the few occasions in the past ten years when I have proposed raising any utility rates, the goal was to make the specific department under consideration provide the revenues to meet the increased expenses relative to those departmental operations.  My actual comment was intended to suggest that as we look at providing the long term funding to address the requirement to reduce the radionuclides in our water supply, it will likely be necessary to raise basic water rates by one or two dollars a month, and increase the usage fee for higher quantity water users in order to repay the financial obligations that will be needed to meet this million dollar project.  That expense will be a part of the City’s budget in the future, but raising any utility rates as a means to pay for the everyday “extras” of the City expenses has never been considered and will not be considered in the future. 

     In conclusion, from my perspective and with my experience of over eleven years as Mayor and all of the education and experience that has provided, as well as over thirty-five years of being a self-employed business owner, I believe the City of Mason is financially healthy and in a very firm and enviable position to serve this community for many years into the future.  I know of many specific small towns that would be very pleased to have the financial health we enjoy, and I know of no reason that we as a community or I as an elected official need to have any serious concerns about the viability and future stability of our City.  I fully agree with the Commissioner’s Comments that “working together we can find the right course and solutions to meet our future financial needs” and I look forward to hearing constructive and positive comments about the City and the future as we seek to serve our community.




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