BILLINGS — The Billings City Council welcomed four new members to its ranks Monday night.
The new members include Kendra Shaw of Ward 1, Danny Choriki of Ward 3, Pam Purinton of Ward 4 and Mike Boyette of Ward 5. Incumbent Roy Neese, who represents Ward 2, was re-elected and was sworn into his second term.
Billings Municipal Judge Sheila Kolar read the council members their oath of office as a group. Then, they individually signed the documents to make them official members of the council.
Billings Mayor Bill Cole thanked the outgoing members for their service. The outgoing members were Reg Gibbs, Brent Cromley, Dick Clark and Chris Fridel. All retired or reached their term limit.
“Collectively, I believe our outgoing council members have served their community for close to 30 years,” Cole said. “Sometimes under trying circumstances, rarely with much thanks and never with a lot of financial compensation.”
Cole went on to welcome the new members.
“Thank you for stepping up to serve your community at what will be considerable sacrifice but what I think will be considerable satisfaction and reward that you will experience. I encourage you to always treat each other with respect. Especially at times where you may disagree because that is the Billings way,” Cole said.
After the new council members were sworn in, they addressed the crowd. All said they were excited to get started and recognized the rough road ahead.
“Just wish us luck. It’s going to be a fun ride,” Choriki said.
“Thank you for the trust you put back in me. I look forward to the next four years,” Neese said.
The council has the task of fixing a $5 million shortfall in the city’s general and public safety funds. The council has been debating how much to ask of taxpayers in a levy or bond over the past few months.