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Ross takes seat on council
September 28, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Although she will only be in office for about two months, Monnette Ross is looking forward to contributing to Gering’s future.
“I wanted to get a taste of city government because later on, I might want to run for council,” Ross said. “I knew there was a need and I wanted to give it a try.”

A lifetime resident of Gering, Ross has been active in numerous community activities, from the Boy Scouts to Camp Fire to her local church. She also served on Gering’s Board of Adjustment and was active in the former Gering Tourism group.

“I love Gering, but I hate to see where it’s gone,” she said. “I remember what downtown used to look like with lots of businesses. Where are they now? It’s sad knowing where Gering used to be when I was a kid. Lots of those businesses aren’t around anymore, and that’s a shame.”

Ross believes that Gering can be more than a bedroom community. “As a council member, I want to learn what’s available to us for economic development,” she said. “I’ll ask what we can do to make Gering more inviting to business.”

Ross was appointed to represent Ward I, on the north side of Gering. Former council member Joyce Hillman-Kortum resigned at the Sept. 10 council meeting because she had moved to Scottsbluff.

Hillman-Kortum was up for re-election in November, but chose not to seek a third term. Candidates on the ballot are Ric Johns and Justin Allred.

Ross will serve until the Dec. 10 city council meeting, when new council members are sworn in.

“I’d love to see Gering come back to life instead of slowly die,” she said. “I’m really bothered by all the empty buildings downtown. I want to see more businesses and more people active in Gering. We have a lot to offer.”

Ross said government isn’t the only driver that can bring Gering back. “I hope people will look to where their dreams are, what they’d like to do and how they’d like to add to the city. This is a place to fulfill dreams.”

In other action, council members referred to the Public Safety Committee the issue over funding to upgrade the county’s 911 emergency communications system. The county is asking communities to contribute $349,000 toward upgrading equipment that has reached the end of its technological life.

A letter from the county commissioners requesting funding assistance came too late for Gering to consider the item during its budget process for the current year.

Council members Larry Gibbs and Jill McFarland both said the city may have an obligation to assist in funding the improvements. However, Gibbs said that from the formation of the department, the county said it would fund its ongoing operation.

Council members also had questions over what constituted a “fair share” of the cost and how the funding assistance would be determined.
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