CHURCH HILL — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen welcomed three new members Tuesday evening and said goodbye to about eight decades of experience in service to the city.
Newly elected Aldermen Keith Gibson, Michael Bell and Michael Walker were sworn in by Mayor Dennis Deal as the terms of longtime Aldermen B.D. Cradic, Mark Drinnon and Billy Kyle Housewright came to an end.
“I appreciate what you folks have done for the city,” Deal said. “I’ve said this on numerous times, but the good Lord has really blessed the city of Church Hill. We’ve had a good board. All on this board have done what they can to move this city forward.”
Cradic, who leaves after serving 22 years on the BMA while simultaneously serving 16 years on the county commission, said he believes it’s about time for him to take it easy.
“I hope the board works as good as we have over the years,” Cradic said. “We’ve had our ups and down, but we’ve always worked it out. It’s been fun most of the time. We had some times that weren’t as pleasant as we’d like it to be. Lost some sleep over thinking about it and worrying about it. But if you care about your employees, you’ll lose sleep over them. If you care about the city as a whole, you’ll have some worrisome nights.”
Housewright has served Church Hill in some capacity over the past 45 years including as mayor.
He noted that when he started, the city had two employees in City Hall, three outside employees and two police officers.
By the time his turn as mayor ended, the city had garbage pickup, had doubled the size of the police department and had started two parks.
“The city has come a long way,” Housewright said. “We’ve been fortunate to have good mayors, good boards and especially the employees. I appreciate everybody and appreciate the opportunity to have served.”
Mark Drinnon, who chose not to seek re-election because he and his wife a building a home outside the city, served 16 years on the board.
“This board has accomplished so much for so little,” Drinnon said. “You look at the tax rate that the city has, and then look at the facilities. There’s five parks in the city of Church Hill. We’ve got one of the outstanding police departments. I’ll put them up against anybody around. Brant runs the public works, Curtis runs the sewer department, and we have some of the best employees you could ask for.”
Drinnon added, “The new aldermen coming in, there’s no way you’re going to agree with everything that everybody on this panel says. But you’ve got to keep your mind clear. You’re not sitting in this seat for yourself. You sit in this seat for the citizens of Church Hill.”
With the new members in place, Linda Miller was re-elected vice mayor.