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One last feather for the mayor’s hat

News editor

Mayor Delores Dalke may have believed that last Thursday’s well-attended reception at city hall was her final big send-off, but thanks to city administrator Larry Paine and the city council, Dalke will preside over one more significant achievement.

Council members received final drafts Tuesday of a previously approved $400,000 deal to sell the city’s old hospital to EmpowerHMS, operator of Hillsboro Community Hospital. Empower HMS plans to develop an outpatient program emphasizing care for veterans.

“It is ready to go,” Paine said.

He requested that the purchase agreement be placed on next Tuesday’s agenda, before the swearing in ceremony for incoming mayor Lou Thurston.

Delaying the matter until next week was less about reviewing technical details and more about bringing a sense of completion to Dalke’s work in securing a future for health care in Hillsboro.

“By doing that, it satisfies one objective that I’ve been trying to do, which is to still get this done on the mayor’s watch, which I thought was important,” Paine said. “In the long run, it’s not. But it’s work that she’s been heavily involved in, particularly for the last six to eight years. This one came up after the May hospital opening, and I think it’s a fitting conclusion.”

Paine paused momentarily.

“Anybody have any problem with doing it that way?” he asked.

Council members nodded in agreement.

Members also agreed on a recommended 2 percent pay increase for city employees. Paine said the raise was based on a similar amount given to Social Security recipients.

Paine referenced the raise later in the meeting when talking about a water main break that city workers tackled overnight Monday, working until 4:30 a.m.

“This is really the time of year where that sort of stuff happens,” Paine said. “This is why you do things like you just did a little while ago in terms of compensating the employees. They do things at all sorts of odd hours, day and night, to make your life easier.”

In other business:

  • In a public hearing continued from October, Warren Deckert received 30 more days to work on external repairs to a house at 311 S. Eisenhower St. that burned in February. If progress is unsatisfactory, the council may take formal action at a Feb. 6 meeting.
  • The city will pay $16,850 to Wrights Inc. for a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup for in-town use by the water department.
  • Thurston and new council member Johan Gehring will be sworn in at 4 p.m. Tuesday at city hall after finalization of the EmpowerHMS agreement.
  • Outgoing council member Bob Watson received a plaque recognizing 10 years of service on the council. Staff gave Watson a poster of dogs playing poker, a long-held Watson wish. “I’ve always wanted that,” Watson said. “My wife will be thrilled. It will be in a place of honor, I’m sure.”

Last modified Jan. 4, 2018

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