New aldermen sworn in

Gray Hughes

The Hill City Common Council will look different this year, as three new aldermen were sworn in to serve on the four-person board.

Dale Householder, Jason Gillaspie and Carl Doaty, Jr. were all sworn in to serve out terms on the board. Householder, after defeating incumbent John Johnson during the municipal election in June, and Gillaspie, who has prior experience serving on the board and is replacing Jim Peterson who opted not to run again, will serve two-year terms. Doaty will serve a one-year term, replacing Steve Jarvis, who was selected to serve a one-year term last year.

Hill City Mayor Kathy Skorzewski, who replaced then-mayor Julie Wickware-Klein last year for a one-year term, was sworn in, also, for a two-year term.

Householder and Gillaspie were sworn in in person and Doaty was sworn in over the phone because he was unable to attend the meeting, as he was called out of town to fight a fire (Doaty’s profession is to fight wildland fires).

No elections were held for Gillaspie’s, Doaty’s or Skorzewski’s seats as they were the only ones to file to serve on the council for their respective seats.

Outgoing council members Jarvis and Peterson (Johnson was not in attendance) received certificates of appreciation from the city as well as the customary “gag gift” — this year it was a piece of the old sidewalk.

At the meeting, Householder, who previously served as chairman of the Hill City Planning and Zoning Commission, was named president of the council and Gillaspie was named vice president. Both were elected unanimously.

The mood of the night was celebratory as the mayor also honored community members who go “above and beyond” in their service to Hill City.

“I did a lot of introspective thinking on what this city, neighbors and families mean to me,” Skorzewski said. The community at large works together and deserves respect and recognition, she added.

The first to receive an award was former city attorney Frank Bettmann, who resigned from his position at the beginning of the year. Bettmann was not present at the meeting.

Skorzewski said she was grateful for Bettmann’s vision and leadership.

The second person Skorzewski recognized was Dani Schade, development service coordinator for Hill City.

“She has moved all the boulders that were set in her way,” Skorzewski said of Schade.

The third person Skorzewski recognized was Hill City resident Sue Anderson.

Anderson, Skorzewski said, is highly involved in the community and is always willing to lend a hand in any project. Anderson, too, works hard to ensure Hill City is a welcoming place to all.

“I don’t know how things would get done without (Anderson),” Skorzewski said.

Skorzewski then honored the Hill City Economic Development Council’s (EDC) board.

The EDC, Skorzewski said, was responsible for making the attainable housing development in Hill City a reality.

“This organization literally moved mountains to make the attainable housing project in Hill City a reality,” Skorzewski said.

Each of the members of the EDC board received a certificate of appreciation from the city. Outgoing EDC executive director Chris VanNess also received a certificate of appreciation.

The final honoree for the night was perhaps the most important as she was the person who inspired Skorzewski’s awards.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce, was honored by Skorzewski.

When she came up to receive her award to a standing ovation from those in attendance, Wetovick-Bily was moved, jokingly saying, “I’d like to thank the Academy” before shifting her focus to thanking the entire chamber board.

“This award is really their award,” she said.

After the final award was handed out, Skorzewski said she is  excited for the future of Hill City.

Later in the meeting, a brief presentation was given on the progress of the attainable housing project.

“It’s progressing,” said Bob Lowrey, president of the EDC.

Dan McNamera, a realtor selling houses in the development and also a member of the EDC, said three homes have been sold in the development thus far.

Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City, said the infrastructure work in the project is going well.

“All utilities have been installed for Quinn Drive,” McMacken said, reading off a report from Schade. “The base course is placed and ready for curb and gutter. They are planning to place curb this week for Quinn Drive. They finished testing of the mains on Quinn the week of July 6. Two weeks ago, they (Site Works Specialists, the firm responsible for the work) started on the sewer main in Top O’ Hill and got to manhole nine before it cleaned up for the long holiday weekend. In regards to the overall schedule, Site Works is running a couple weeks behind.”

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