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Merritt seeks new Council term

Candidate wants to focus on public safety and improving the economy
Prineville City Councilor Gail Merritt feels that after two years of service, she has just gotten her feet wet.
   She is now ready to put in another four years, and is consequently running for another term.
   Merritt said she does not seek re-election with any specific agenda, but did identify some individual goals for a second term.
   She singled out public safety as one primary concern. During her time on the Council, she has served on a public safety committee, and believes that “no matter what we do in the city, safety has to be a main concern.”
   Her other primary interest is improving the local economy.
   “We would certainly like to see more jobs,” she said. “I have seen it (the lack of jobs) affect the schools. It affects our downtown core area.”
   Merritt feels that the City has thus far done a good job of managing its financial resources. She believes that as a councilor she can improve the local economy by making intelligent decisions, and helping prepare the City to attract future business recruits.
   In particular, Merritt wants to continue water and sewer upgrades as well as road improvements. She has noticed a desire among citizens for a new pool, hospital, or school.
   “It helps to have all of those things in place if people are looking at our community,” she said.
   When it comes to increasing the job base, and encouraging growth in Prineville, Merritt believes the Council needs to proceed with care.
   “As we prepare for the future, we need to keep our small-town feel,” she said. “I have heard really good comments that it’s so nice to come into our town, and it is so nice and friendly.”
   She realizes that some citizens feel the City has given away too much to recruit the Facebook and Apple data centers to Prineville. At the same time, given the current economic climate, Merritt feels the City needs to consider whatever options it can.
   “I think we have to start somewhere,” she said. “If we don’t get something coming in to Prineville, who is going to want to come to Prineville?”
   With all of her goals for the City, Merritt ultimately stressed a desire to make Prineville a good place not only for her constituents, but her family as well.
   “This community has been really good to me, and I have the time to dedicate to the City Council,” she said. “I would like to see our city thrive for our generation and the next generation – for my children and my grandchildren.”