Paving discussion front and center at meeting

Gray Hughes
Hill City Prevailer News editor

The Hill City Common Council met on Monday for its regular meeting.

All aldermen were present at the meeting, although aldermen Jim Peterson and Bill Miner teleconferenced in.

The meeting began with the consent calendar. During this portion of the meeting, alderman John Johnson pulled the wages of Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City, and Connie Wolters, a member of the Hill City Planning and Zoning Commission, from the consent calendar to be voted on as separate items.

When it came time to vote on those, the wages for McMacken passed 3-1 with Johnson serving as the lone “nay.” The vote for Wolters ended in a 2-2 tie with both Peterson and Johnson voting nay. Since the issue constituted a matter of finances, Kathy Skorzewski, Hill City mayor, could not break the tie vote. The wages for Wolters will appear on the next claims.

During public comment in between the consent calendar and the vote on the wages, LeRoy Barker, a resident of Deegan Drive, spoke to the state of the road.

“The maintenance department brought in gravel this summer, but now the rock is gone,” Barker said. “It’s a waste of the city’s money.”

Barker, along with other residents of Deegan Drive, asked the city during the summer to pave Deegan Drive.

The city did grade the road; however, the road now has ruts in it, Barker said.

“There is no gravel on the road,” he said. “The maintenance department knows what it looks like. Grading doesn’t help. The road is almost gone and something needs to be done.”

Barker reiterated that he and others who live on Deegan Drive keep asking for the road to be paved, yet the city keeps “throwing money at the issue” in a way that is not prudent.

Skorzewski said she also got an email from the Sundbys, another family that lives on Deegan Drive, and planned to address the issue during the mayor report.

Barker said he keeps hearing excuses from the city.

“Something needs to be done,” he said.

Johnson said it might be time for Kale McNaboe, the city engineer, to look at the road.

After Barker spoke, Ed Sundby addressed the council on the same topic.

Sundby said there are three storm drains on the road across the street from his house; however, they are not on the side of the road where the water flows and instead the water flows on the side of the road by his house, depositing large rocks and inundating his yard.

“Why are there three storm drains that catch nothing?” Sundby asked.

He knows there are priorities in the city, Sundby said, but “something needs to be done.”

With the bridge up near Deegan Drive on Museum Drive set to be redone sometime in the future, Sundby suggested the possibility of paving Deegan Drive as well as Lacy’s Court and piggybacking off that project so that a costly mobilization fee can be avoided.

The Sundbys and the Barkers had left the meeting by the time the mayor presented her report, but Skorzewski still addressed the matter.

Miner said he was aware of the issue but he has been out of town and has not had time to further research the matter.

Skorzewski said the council needs to look at the matter from the public work’s perspective and have a conversation if continuing to grade the street is the best approach.

The city has a priority list that she created,  Skorzewski added, and she and the council will look at that again and see where the paving of Deegan Drive and Lacy’s Court ranks.

The aldermen supported the idea.

“Let’s get them happy and get the roads repaired,” said alderman Steve Jarvis.

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