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Gering Mayoral candidates: Mayo strives for economic development, transparency in second term
October 23, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Edwin Mayo

Edwin Mayo, who is seeking a second term as Mayor of Gering, used two works to describe himself – honest and loyal.

“I keep my word,” Mayo said. “I’m open and will listen to what everyone has to say. I’ll be accessible at any time. People can contact me whenever they have a problem they want to discuss. And I hold myself accountable for getting things done.”

Mayo said while talking with people around the city, they’ve asked him a wide variety of questions about concerns ranging from infrastructure, economic development, the landfill and cleaning up the community.

He said he’s looked at the comprehensive economic plan currently being done, and hopes the council will sign on to the concept when it’s ready.

“I’d like to appoint a committee of business owners along North 10th Street and get their ideas as to what types of businesses would be a good fit for us,” he said.

The city has also been awarded a downtown redevelopment grant for updating the downtown area and bringing in new amenities, like a community space for farmers’ markets and other activities.
Mayo said several developers have expressed interest in several downtown properties for new businesses, once the old buildings have been cleared from the land.

“Since March 2012, we’ve added 30 new expanded businesses in Gering,” he said. “That has to do with a change in attitude. We’re not a bedroom community for Scottsbluff. We have our own identity.”
Transparency in government is another item that’s on people’s minds recently. Mayo said the city has recently built up its communications capabilities for that council meetings can be broadcast live. And each city department will be able to use the channel to keep the public advised of activities within their departments.

“I’ve also told people I’d be in the office every day,” he said. “People should know that no matter what time of day it is, if they have a problem, they can call me. I answer all of them and also my email.”

Mayo added that while transparency is important, there is a need for closed council sessions when negotiating for business retention and expansion. As an example, he mentioned the recently opened Family Dollar Store, which spent more than a million dollars to open the store without asking for any economic development funds from the city.

Also during his first term, city departments implemented one-and six-year plans for needed infrastructure so upgrades can be budgeted more effectively.

A proposed meatpacking plant also generated a lot of controversy earlier in the year. Mayo said he would be more than surprised if it ever came to the community. “In the last 60 to 90 days, there have been three major meat processing facilities in the region that have closed. If they’re closing because they don’t have enough cattle to slaughter, it kind of leaves us in the same boat.”

Mayo said he would promote new economic development and provide an environment to maintain current business and industry.
Mayo is being challenged by newcomer Tony Kaufman in the Nov. 4 general election.
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