Earlier this morning, the Mayor of Hickman, Nebraska, Jim Hrouda, spoke to delegates who won city offices last night. He spoke of many things, including the ups and downs, of the position as mayor and the role and action of city governments. Newspaper reporter Jeff Story of Manila Bay wrote an article to be published in the Tuesday edition of the Boys’ State Bulletin.
“Hickman Mayor Provides Insight for Mayors/Councils”
Jeff Story, Manila Bay
What could possibly be interesting about the job as mayor of Hickman? The town of just over 1,000 inhabitants has been noted as one of the fastest growing communities in Nebraska, and Mayor Jim Hrouda has been at the helm for about eight years. He spoke for over an hour to the Boys Staters about the job he serves and about city government in general.
Hickman is inevitably a city on the rise. Because of the southerly growth of Lincoln, the town continues to add more and more residents every year. Hrouda notes that being able to serve such an up-and-coming town is a privilege. Every day he is stopped while doing activities, such as mowing the lawn or driving around town, to answer questions and take comments from Hickman’s citizens. Even though those times aren’t always convenient, Hrouda believes that overall the job is a rewarding one. The mayor takes on that job as well as works at the bank in town. Per month, the mayor estimates that he spends around twenty hours working for the city.
There are also times when being mayor is not the most glamorous title. Two examples were given on certain occasions when Hrouda had to fight some stiff opposition. Most notably was the conflict regarding the horse, Peter Rabbit, owned by citizen Harley Scott. When the town annexed a portion of land, Scott’s land was included in that section. There, the elderly horse was housed its whole life, and he refused to remove the beloved Peter Rabbit. It’s going to die anyway soon, so why move it? News from Omaha and Lincoln covered the scuffle in great detail, and it took way longer than it should have taken to be resolved. In the end, it was ruled that the horse would be moved four miles to escape the new city limits. Moments like these are negative aspects of his generally positive job.
Hrouda has many high hopes for his city in the next ten years, including the construction of a viaduct and new community buildings. Many towns in Nebraska have similar issues as Hickman, and today’s session was an inside look on how things actually work. Hopefully our mayors took some notes on how to lead our towns to the highest potential!