BILLINGS — The Billings City Council welcomed three new members and welcomed back two familiar faces to its ranks during a swearing in ceremony at City Hall on Monday night in the Council's first meeting of the year.
Billings Municipal Court Judge Sheila Kolar had the honor of swearing in the Council members for their four-year term.
New additions to the body this year include: Council members Ed Gulick of Ward 1, Jennifer Owen of Ward 2, Daniel Tidswell of Ward 4 and Tom Rupsis of Ward 5. Incumbant Denise Joy and Mayor Bill Cole were both sworn in for their second terms.
Ahead of the ceremony, Owen said she was ready to get to work.
"It's exciting. I'm nervous. I'm a longtime Heights resident, that's my home. And I really believe in for what we can do for that neighborhood. I'm excited to get to work. It's been a long year to get here, a tough campaign so tonight feels just really exciting," Owen said.
Tidswell said he shared a similar feeling of excitement and said he's ready to get to work on some issues requested by his constituents in Ward 4, which stretches underneath the Billings Rimrocks.
"I really want to go with what I started to understand by visiting the folks in Ward 4, a lot of that was taxes. Another thing that came up a lot was recycling, which was kind of surprising. But I would like to lay my finger on that and see where we can go with it," Tidswell said.
The Council has some big topics to tackle in the coming years like moving house into the Stillwater Building which will serve as new city hall, legalized marijuana, and the ever present issue of public safety. During their time on Council, both members said they would like to see more people involved in the decisions being made at the local level of government.
"I mean, these are the things that we deal with every day. It's how does traffic flow, is there a pothole, is my trash getting picked up, is there enough water for our city, is the sewer system stable, do I have parks where I can play in, is it a safe community. This is the government that touches our lives the most and I think it's really important that we have good leaders who are committed to making Billings everything that it could be," Owen said.