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Hilscher sworn in to Suwanee City Council

SUWANEE -- The newest member of Suwanee's City Council was sworn in on Tuesday night, and Beth Hilscher immediately thanked her supporters, including her family, for support, encouragement, patience and "future patience."

A small business attorney who has an office in Old Town, Hilscher was the only candidate to qualify for the post, so a special election originally slated for Tuesday was called off. She was sworn in at the City Council meeting.

The seat came open in May when Jace Brooks, who had served as a councilman for about 10 years, resigned to run for the District 1 seat of the Gwinnett County Board of Commission.

Hilscher is the second person to be sworn in this year after Doug Ireland joined the council in January. She's the first woman to serve on the council since Jeannine Rispin in 2009.

"I'm very excited," Hilscher said after she posed for cellphone pictures for her kids, Ryan, 15, and Emily, 12. "We had a family meeting before I even put my name in the hat, and we all discussed it, and discussed the time commitment and made sure they were all on board."

Hilscher's husband, Steve, said she's been involved with communities since he met her in college when she was active in residential life.

Hilscher continues a trend of fresh faces on the council.

After Mayor Jimmy Burnette, who has served on the council since 1996, the next longest-tenured councilman is Mayor Pro Tem Dan Foster, who has served since 2006.

Hilscher has served as vice chair of the Downtown Development Authority, and was active in the city's 20/20 vision discussions. She said the Gateway area is a priority, and the new police substation near Interstate 85, which will be unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 10, will help improve that part of the city.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the council approved an interagency agreement so the city could join a county-wide narcotics task force to handle complaints, investigations and violations.

The agreement is a result of the service delivery settlement in March, when the county stopped handling drug investigations in city limits. The cities involved are Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Loganville and Suwanee. The task force is currently training officers and expects to begin work in August.