|Morrison to retain city’s Ward III seat|
|October 09, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Julie Morrison, Ward III Gering City Council member first elected in 2006, is seeking re-election and running unopposed in the Nov. 4 election.
Morrison was appointed in 2003 to serve out the term of Steve DeMaranville after he resigned from office.
“It’s been quite an interesting experience,” she said. “One of the council’s biggest accomplishments was getting a new supermarket in town. I think the city, in a private-public partnership, needs to be commended for that.”
A more recent controversy has been the proposed meatpacking plant for the city, which has generated vigorous debate and strong opinions.
“From people I’ve heard from, they’re split whether to support it or not,” Morrison said. “I’m a proponent of listening. I don’t know much more than anyone else, but I want to be open-minded and hear it out. I don’t know if this would be good or bad growth, but we don’t have many details just yet.”
Another item will be dealing with in the future is the landfill, which is expected to reach its capacity by about 2022.
“We have to start planning for our future and getting a new landfill built,” she said. “There’s no place to expand at the current site.”
Morrison said another positive note is the new hotel that will soon be built in downtown Gering. “Right now we can’t draw big conventions because we don’t have the room to house them. A new hotel will help draw more people to the area.”
From her downtown business, Morrison said she deals with visitors every day and she receives numerous compliments on the community.
“I’ve talked with people from Colorado and even a couple from Germany,” she said. “People love it when they get here. That means we have a lot to offer.”
Transparency in government has been an issue for voters on both the local and national level. Morrison said that while transparency in government is important, many times the council must deal confidentially with prospective businesses.
“It’s like trying to get into and look at someone’s bank account,” she said. “There are things that have to be discussed and ironed out before we can even tell if we want to pursue it. That often requires a closed session. It’s our job to determine whether a proposal is feasible or not. It doesn’t mean we’re trying to hide anything.”
Morrison said that during her time on the council, she has proven to be level-headed and tries to apply her business sense to city government. “I’m pretty fiscally responsible with my own business and I think the city should be as well.”