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Sustainable economic development for the community of Gering, Part 2
February 10, 2011 Al and Lois Herbel   
During the last few days, we have read with interest articles about the proposed Scottsbluff/Gering police consolidation. After reading these articles, we greatly urge our Gering City council members to vote “NO” for any of the options that have been brought to the discussion.

In order for this proposal to be sustainable, it must meet the Triple Bottom Line (people, profit, planet), not just the Bottom Line (dollars). Presently, this discussion does not do that for Gering.

Financially, it is not sustainable. Numbers tell us there is no financial savings. And, we all know that, in actuality, there always seems to be unforeseen costs that cause projects to cost more than we anticipate. This project is no different, so it actually might even cost more than can be projected.

The quality of life for Gering residents would not be enhanced by consolidation. We have been told that patrol coverage would increase in Gering. How long would that last? We have no guarantee. Scottsbluff is not fully staffed now and is often short-handed.

Other local agencies already help them on a continual basis. We already have sharing of services and resources without this consolidation.
Projected costs have included salaries only. The dollars needed to have conformity in departments in other areas has not been mentioned. (ex. uniforms, equipment, fleet purchase and maintenance, letterheads, badges, etc.)

Twelve hour shifts have been discussed previous to the consolidation proposal. If the benefits are apparent, why hasn’t this already been put into action? Consolidation is not needed to implement 12 hour shifts.

It appears to us that enhancement of services is being dangled in front of us to get “buy-in” to this proposal. Again, we do not need consolidation to add those enhancements. There is no guarantee those enhancements will remain once an agreement is signed.

The residents have had very little opportunity to voice opinion about this proposal. Residents cannot vote on this item and no surveys have been taken. The November election results expressed Gering resident opposition to a proposed merger. The mayor was overwhelmingly ousted and a council member won re-election by only a small margin against a candidate many did not know.

We urge the Gering City Council to vote “NO” on any consolidation option presented thus far. Let’s continue to be good neighbors to Scottsbluff as we continue to be Gering.

Al and Lois Herbel

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