Next era begins in towns, cities

On Nov. 5, municipalities across the county swore in their new mayors and city councils for the next four years. For each of those cities and towns, a new era began, rife with possibility.

Some faces and names remained the same, but some are different.

One of the most notable changes was in the Helena mayor’s seat, as Mark Hall took over for Sonny Penhale, who has been mayor for the past 44 years.

Under Penhale, Helena grew from a city of just more than 1,000 residents to the nearly 17,000 citizens it boasts today.

Penhale’s hard work has brought parks, a sewer system, a sports complex and new residential development to the city. He’s also helped bring new schools to the area, including the new Helena High School, to be opened in 2014.

We’d like to thank Penhale, and every other outgoing mayor in Shelby County, for their work to help improve their cities and towns. The same goes for every outgoing council member throughout the county.

Our county has enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity, even though we’ve also been battling tough times in the last few years. The stewardship shown by all of our local leaders is a vital reason why this county has found so much success.

We wish good luck for all of our new mayors and council members. They shoulder a huge responsibility and all have tough acts to follow, but we have faith they will reward their constituents’ confidence by working hard to better their lives.

We encourage every new leader to truly become part of the community by attending local events and meeting as many citizens as possible.

It is now their job to serve their citizens, make the tough decisions based on what they think is best for the community and take the criticism that surely lies ahead. Public service isn’t an easy job, and those who stand up to lead should be commended. Each of our mayors and council members will leave a legacy — we exhort each of you to make it a positive one.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.