A major mayor

“Not everybody loves everything a mayor does. You have to learn to have tough skin and be able to say no sometimes. That isn’t always easy. I don’t like to do that, but sometimes you have to.”<p>—Delores Dalke
“Not everybody loves everything a mayor does. You have to learn to have tough skin and be able to say no sometimes. That isn’t always easy. I don’t like to do that, but sometimes you have to.”<p>—Delores Dalke
We affirm the tremendous leadership Delores Dalke has exercised during her 24 years as Hillsboro’s mayor. You can read the front-page article about her path to the office and some of the significant projects she and the city council brought to fruition during her administration.

From the development of Hillsboro Heights in the 1990s to the completion of the Hillsboro Com­munity Hospital this spring, the city has evolved for the better under her leadership.

As a leader who understood the importance of combining optimism with realism, Dalke supported meaningful projects that would make a positive difference for the citizens of the Hillsboro now and in their future. As a student of math and accounting during her college years, and as a business owner while serving as mayor, she understood the risks and rewards of spending public money.

During our interview with Dalke last week, she beat the drum one last time about the importance of keeping the local mill levy steady to appease her constituents while pushing for opportunities to move the city forward with “outside money”—state and federal grants as well as the support of the local private sector.

Dalke told us that during her first year in office (1991), the mill levy was 42.708. As she leaves office at the end of this month, the mill levy is 44.769. So, did her commitment to a low mill levy make a difference? You decide: In 1991 the assessed value of Hillsboro was $6,477,498. This year, as Dalke prepares to move on, Hills­boro’s assessed value is $17,762,498.

“We have had a lot of public and private things that have worked together during this time,” she said modestly. “We can look around and sometimes feel like nothing’s happening, but there has been a lot. I think that’s tremendous.”

A significant part of Dalke’s successful leadership—as we have observed while covering countless city council meetings—has been dealing with people in a positive, tactful and helpful way. During the 19 years we have covered council meetings under her leadership, we can’t recall her uttering a harsh word nor, can we remember a policy debate that degenerated into arguments.

Hillsboro has been blessed by Delores Dalke’s committent to this city. We wish her the best in her “retirement,” but we are confident she will continue to find ways to contribute to the betterment for this town. —DR