New member appointed to fill vacated Ward 4 seat on Hot Springs City Council
Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star
New Ward 4 Councilmember Malisa Niles, right, gets sworn into office by City Finance Officer Misty Summers-Walton, left, during the City Council meeting on Monday, March 6.
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Malisa Niles was sworn in as the newest member of the City Council at this past Monday night’s meeting on March 6, after she was the lone resident to express an interest in filling one of the two seats in Ward 4, made vacant after former councilperson Melanie Wilson moved out of the city limits.
A resident of Hot Springs at 341 S. 14th Street, Niles submitted a letter of interest to the city on March 2, where she described her background and stated she “would love the opportunity to serve Hot Springs and its citizens. I know the city has some challenges. I would like to be part of the solution.”
Niles has been been a resident of Hot Springs since 2017 but has lived in South Dakota her entire life. She is a former employee of the city, having worked at Evans Plunge (2018-19) and the Public Library (2019-20). She is an active volunteer in many organizations including Feeding SD, Fall River Master Gardeners and with the Southern Hills Evangelical Free Church. She also has many years experience working with youth through public education as well as with homeschool families. She has a Masters of School Administration from South Dakota State University.
She will fill the vacated seat until the June 6, 2023, election. She said she does plan to run for election in order to remain in the seat for the second year of the term.
Among the agenda items of the March 6 council meeting was a motion to approve the cross deputizing of City Police Officers with the Fall River County Sheriff’s Office, which was approved unanimously.
Police Chief Ross Norton was on hand and described the advantages of doing so, which would allow city officers to have jurisdiction to make arrests outside of the city limits, but only when deemed necessary in order to assist the Sheriff’s Department under certain circumstances. Chief Norton emphasized the fact that the City of Hot Springs would never be uncovered by city officers in the event another city officer was called out of town to assist the county.
Also during the March 6 council meeting, Dustin Kleinsasser spoke and gave an update regarding the McColley Vision Fund, which the City of Hot Springs helps to oversee. Kleinsasser, who is one of the city-appointed members of the fund’s committee, announced that they had 11 applicants for this year’s grant award. Two applicants were selected for the fund’s first-ever recipients, which included the Hot Springs Ministerial Association and the Scout Center.
Kleinsasser said all of the applicants were worthy of the funds, but they made their selection as the committee felt these two best represented the McColley family’s vision for how the funds should be used. He said the Ministerial Association is in the process of purchasing the building which houses the Food Pantry and will use the money to purchase IT equipment to broaden the community’s use of the facility. Similarly, the Scout Center will use the funds to make improvements to their building in order to make it more useful for a broader range of community groups so it may serve as a Community Center.