Common council appoints new leaders

By Gray Hughes

THE NEW COUNCIL — Aldermen John Johnson and Bill Miner sit to the left of Hill City Mayor Kathy Skorzewski while the other two aldermen, Steve Jarvis and Jim Peterson, sit to her right. These are the aldermen and mayor of Hill City for 2019-20. Jarvis was selected to the the president of the council while Miner was selected to be vice president. Miner and Jarvis were sworn in as aldermen at the July 8 Hill City Common Council meeting. [PN Photo/GRAY HUGHES]

It will be the newest aldermen to the Hill City Common Council that will be taking over the two leadership positions on the council.

Steve Jarvis, who had previously served before but was appointed to the council at its last meeting to take over outgoing Alderman Jason Gillaspie’s spot, will be the new president of the common council while Bill Miner, who ran unopposed to fill Mayor Kathy Skorzewski’s spot on the board, will take over as vice president.

The nominations for president were unique as each member of the council nominated a different person. Alderman Jim Peterson nominated Alderman John Johnson, Johnson nominated Peterson, Miner nominated Jarvis and Jarvis nominated Miner.

Johnson received one vote from Peterson while Peterson received one vote from Johnson. Miner and Jarvis voted for Jarvis.

When it came time to select a council vice president, a similar situation occurred. Peterson nominated Johnson, Johnson nominated Peterson and Jarvis nominated Miner.

Peterson voted for Johnson, Johnson voted for Peterson and Jarvis and Miner voted for Miner.

At the meeting the board was to select those who would fill the roles of city administrator (Brett McMacken), city attorney (Frank Bettmann), city engineer (Kale McNaboe) and finance officer (Carla Sheldon).

Last time the board was to vote on those appointments came at the first meeting in July 2018, which sparked the 2-2 tie vote issue.

The same slate of candidates were to be nominated by Skorzewski this year. However, Jarvis wasn’t comfortable with the process.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to know them yet,” Jarvis said. “I want to be able to talk with them and know them before moving forward with this process.”

He recommended tabling the issue for 90 days, which the council voted 4-0 to approve.

The consideration for the mayoral appointments will now be at the first meeting in October.

With a new council in place it will be able to proceed with voting on claims for city attorney Bettmann.

There had been some hold ups over two claims from May—a bill for $123.50 regarding the Sunset Creek development on which Peterson could not vote and a bill for $276.50 for the tie vote lawsuit on which both Peterson and Johnson could not vote.

The bill for Sunset Creek passed 2-1 with Jarvis and Miner voting “aye” and Johnson voting “nay.” Peterson recused himself.

The $276.50 tie vote bill was 2-0. Jarvis and Miner voted “aye” and Peterson and Johnson recused themselves.

In between the mayoral appointments and the claims for Bettmann, however, was a hearing on an off sale liquor license for the Mangy Moose brought forth by Mangy Moose owner Tana Nichols.

Nichols wants to sell a brand of liquor known as Full Throttle. She said Full Throttle representatives would also be coming out to do promotions as well as to sign the bottles.

Nichols only wanted the off sale license to be for two months, offering to pay a prorated rate for the license.

At the June 24 Hill City Common Council meeting, it was decided that a legal advertisement needed to be run before a hearing could be heard. Now that the legal advertisement had been run, there could be a hearing on the matter.

When it came time for public comment, two members of the audience had an issue with the liquor license being granted.

“I think it sets a bad precedence only offering a liquor license for a partial year,” said Lori Miner, Hill City resident and wife of alderman Miner.

Dale Householder, representing Hill City Senior Center, said his issue with the saloon was in regards to its trash, which he said described as “deplorable.”

The trashcans don’t have a lid on them, he said, and something “needs to change.”

Peterson read into the record a letter from a constituent in his ward — Judy Walker—who, like Householder, had issues regarding the trash.

In regards to the license itself, there was some confusion on the board if Nichols was allowed to hold it or not. Sheldon said she cleared it with the state and Nichols could hold the license.

Later in discussion it came out that it was unclear if Nichols could hold the license from the state.

“The state said if we could get it in the paper (as a legal advertisement) then we could have the meeting,” said Stacia Tallon, administrative coordinator for the finance department in Hill City. “I didn’t ask about prorating the rate.”

There was a situation in 2013 where Nichols also wanted to obtain an off sale liquor license for part of the season, which was denied.

Bettmann recommended going with the precedence set in 2013 while Miner referenced a portion of South Dakota Codified Law where license of this sort would not be allowed.

Nichols was upset, saying that she wanted the license for July and August, and if they were to go back and check with the state it would be too late.

“If I can’t have it for this month and next there’s no point,” she said. “Just drop it.”

Nichols left the room, and words were said between Nichols and Miner, with Miner rising from his chair. Skorzewski instructed Miner to sit back down.

Jarvis said the council would need clarification to ensure something like this does not happen again.

In other council news, the council unanimously voted to shut down Main Street during the Sturgis Rally.