Board member steps down; replacement appointed

FORTVILLE — After more than seven years of serving on the Fortville Town Council, Bill Hiday has given up the seat.

On Monday night, Republicans picked Robert Sterrett, an eight-year resident of the town, to replace Hiday through the end of the year, when his term expires. Sterrett was the only local resident to express interest in fulfilling Hiday’s term.

The town announced last month Hiday had plans to move away from Fortville, and as result, had to vacate the office.

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Hiday, who served as the council’s president for six years, helped to revitalize Main Street in downtown Fortville and oversaw the development of new housing standards, said Bob Hiday, Bill Hiday’s father and a precinct committee member who voted during Monday’s caucus.

As a contractor, Bill Hiday was able to bring renewal to residential areas of town, Bob Hiday said. He helped bring about new buildings in the older parts of Fortville, matching their architectural style while working with the redevelopment council to keep construction projects in accordance with local zoning laws, Bob Hiday said.

Bill Hiday was first elected in 2010 to represent Fortville’s District 2. He later moved and represented District 1 before taking the at-large seat he recently resigned from.

After seven years on the council, Bill Hiday said he couldn’t have asked to work with a better group of people than those he met in Fortville. Bill Hiday added he was especially proud to work alongside law enforcement officials, council members and other town leaders to help bring about Fortville’s economic growth in the past few years.

This success wasn’t caused by anything he did individually, but through a group effort of Fortville’s public officials and dedicated citizens, Bill Hiday stressed.

Sterrett, who serves as Fortville’s police commissioner — leading the citizen board that oversees the town’s police force — already had filed to run for the seat in May’s Republican primary.

He’s unopposed now but could face an independent or Democratic challenger in the fall, said Hancock County GOP chair Janice Silvey.

Sterrett sits on a number of Fortville boards and commissions, showing he’s already established a genuine interest in the community’s affairs, Bob Hiday said.

He’s a founding member of the Fortville Action Committee, an assembly of citizens who volunteer to help improve the town’s sense of community with services and special events, such as the Fortville Winter Festival.

Sterrett also has served on the Fortville Redevelopment Commission, which oversees spending of revenue generated from the town’s tax increment financing districts.

TIF districts reallocate the property taxes collected in the district to be spent on redevelopment efforts.

Sterrett’s experience as police commissioner gives him experience with small-town policies and problems, which make him well-equipped for the position, Bob Hiday said.

Watching Fortville’s economic growth has been an exciting process, Sterrett said, and he’s looking forward to helping the community prosper even more during his time as a council member.

Because he is retired, Sterrett will be able to give his new position the attention and focus it deserves to better serve the people of Fortville, he said.

Sterrett was sworn in Monday night for the group’s first council meeting of the month.

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Evan Myers is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3228 or