Skorzewski sworn in as new mayor

By Leslie Silverman

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Julie Wickware-Klein stepped down as Mayor at the most recent Hill City Council Meeting.

“Kind of bittersweet. I love this town .I was proud and honored to serve constituents,” she said.

Wickware-Klein resigned her position to take care of her family. She plans on staying in Hill City.

“It’s time for me to move on to my new chapter. I thank everybody for their support over the couple years,” she said. “We need to get constituents running for office and coming to the meetings and voicing their opinions. That is so important. Let’s keep chugging along and making Hill City great and wonderful.”

The mayoral position  was handed to former alderwoman Kathy Skorzewski, who took the oath of office and presided over her first common council meeting.

“I had thought a lot about the position of mayor and it’s something that I take very seriously,” she said. “Initially when I learned that I would be serving in that position I started to think about what are those things that can be done. As many of us are aware there is an opportunity for us to move forward as a city as well as an organization.”

Skorzewski has a 100-day plan that includes points for communication, city operations, and team Hill City.

“I’m available for discussion on any of those items. You can always talk to me in the street.”

Skorzewski addressed the council and citizens present by adding, “I felt it was necessary to talk to everyone in attendance about something that I think we all need to remember and it’s something that I think is a non negotiable item. The topic of respect I have seen come up many times in meetings. I think we’ve forgotten what respect really is in some cases. We need to remember that people don’t always agree with each other.”

In other items, alderman Jim Peterson and alderman John Johnson did not approve a request by Skorzewski to allow William E. Miner to take his seat on the council earlier than the July date when his full term starts. The council then conducted business with three council members. Reading from codified law and addressing this topic Skorzewski went on to add “The vacation of the seat in Ward 2 would leave three members of council who have been duly elected and appointed.The quorum for those three members would be two instead of three.”

City administrator Brett McMacken discussed a recent lightning strike that impacted the control panel for the water system.

“We had a big lightning strike about four weeks ago. That lightning strike took out our control panel. We have an automated  system for our water reservoir and our wells. That panel went out. We had to operate that control panel manually for about two and half days.”

McMacken assured the public there would be no long term issues and the fixes have all been addressed.

The recent flooding did affect the city in numerous ways including impacting some culverts near Newton Avenue

“Those culverts have been in place since the 80s. For an event like that they are undersized by quite a but. We will be looking to replace those culverts and the systems,” McMacken said.

The flooding also prompted an “emergency decision” to seal the pipes around three manholes. The cost was $15,000.

“We followed the appropriate procedure to have those repairs done. We have done that on the manholes to cut done on the infiltration that was coming in there,“ said Skorzewski.

Two sound permits were approved, one for Chute Rooster and the other for Twisted Pine.

Payment of the invoices for the tie vote lawsuit and Sunset Creek Development bills were continued due to conflicts of interest.

A Pennington County Sheriff Office report shows a DUI checkpoint yielded three arrests for drunk driving. Jeff Andrews was introduced to the board as a new deputy for the city.

The Hill City Chamber of Commerce report shows a slight decrease in tax collection for April. It was also noted that foot traffic in the visitor center is down slightly. It shows that foot traffic at the visitor information center. The report highlighted a new campaign in conjunction with Rapid City Regional Airport.

The next Hill City Common Council meeting takes place June 24.

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