Homecoming parade coming

Gray Hughes

It was a busy night for the Hill City Common Council as a new alderman was appointed, the council approved the city’s first homecoming parade in quite some time and the council gave the green light to go out to bid for the Major Lake bridge project.

The meeting started off with a discussion on filling a vacancy in the council after Bill Miner resigned his post, which took affect after the last meeting.

“Under terms of resignation there are two things we can do: appointment and special election,” said Kathy Skorzewski, Hill City mayor.

Skorzewski said that, while she is typically in favor of holding an election, given the circumstances she would be in favor of appointment.

The last appointment came in 2019 when Steve Jarvis was appointed to serve out a one-year term on the council after no one registered to fill a vacancy on the council. Skorzewksi was in favor of a special election then; however, the council at that time wanted to appoint someone.

Dale Householder, alderman, spoke in favor of appointment, referencing last meeting when aldermen Jason Gillaspie and Carl Doaty were unable to attend (Gillaspie was on vacation and Doaty had a work obligation fighting wildfires). The last meeting was able to proceed only after Gillaspie called in to the meeting. No executive session was held that meeting, as well.

“With what happened at the last meeting, it would make sense for us to do an appointment,” Householder said.

Gillaspie chimed in that he was also in favor of an appointment and pointed out that “an election costs money.”

Doaty, too, said that he is in favor of an appointment.

The council voted 3-0 to do an appointment.

The appointment came at Monday’s meeting. Gary Auch was unanimously approved by the council 3-0 to serve as Ward II’s newest alderman.

Later in the meeting, the council discussed going out to bid for the Major Lake bridge project.

Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City, explained that the city has an 80-20 cost share with the state — meaning the state is responsible for paying 80 percent of the project and Hill City is responsible for paying the other 20 percent.

“While we would go out to bid in 2020, the project would actually be a part of the 2021 budget,” McMacken said.

The bridge would be a double box culvert with an asphalt roadway and a sidewalk on the side. It is to replace the wood plank bridge currently over Major Lake.

In total, the state estimated the project would cost $837,341, meaning, by the state’s estimate, Hill City would be responsible for paying $167,468.20. McMacken, though, estimated the city’s contribution to the project would be closer to $200,000, which is in the 2021 budget. An additional $100,000 was also budgeted for the sewer line component of the project that is not covered under the 80-20 split with the state, which adds up to $300,000 budgeted by the city in 2021 toward this project.

The project would have a one-year window for completion, which McMacken said is done to allow for more time for construction companies to complete the project, meaning the cost for construction could possibly be lower because it allows for more flexibility for the construction companies.

However, this concerned Gillaspie.

“This project needs to get done, yes,” Gillaspie said. “But I don’t want a company to have to close this area for a year while they drag their feet.”

Both McMacken and Skorzewski assured Gillaspie that would not happen.

The council voted 4-0 to approve going out to bid for the project.

And, at the meeting, the council gave the green light for Hill City to hold a homecoming parade.

Skorzewski personally submitted the special event application after discussion with Janet Wetovick-Bily, Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce director, and Blake Gardner, superintendent of the Hill City School District.

Skorzewski explained that the parade is being held since the traditional homecoming carnival cannot be held this year due to social distancing concerns.

Parade participants would include students, parents and “other adults.” Vehicles driven in the parade would include floats by the high school students or businesses, trucks, cars, trailers, and UTVs/ATVs. Participants would also be allowed to march on foot.

Staging for the parade would take place at 1 p.m. with the parade set to begin at 1:30 p.m. The parade route would follow Main Street through the central business district and end at the Deerfield Road turnoff.

“Nothing says community like a parade,” Skorzewski said. “The resurrection of the Rangers Homecoming Parade is a show of visible support for the school and students by residents and businesses alike.”

The parade was approved 4-0, and the fee for the parade was waived.

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