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Meet the candidates


City of Monmouth

Question 1: In 50 words or less, describe the direction the city is headed and what challenges the future might bring.

Question 2: There is a perception that Monmouth suffers from an inability to lure new business development and get capital projects completed. If you believe this is a problem, how would you fix it?

Question 3: Should Monmouth and Independence merge? Explain why or why not.


John Oberst (unopposed)

Home: Monmouth.

Occupation: Family-owner company manager, former teacher.

Elected public office experience: None.

Other: Local commissions and boards.

Answer 1: The City of Monmouth is headed upward. Our robust residential growth continues, and it is now being joined by a commercial renaissance. Our two greatest future challenges are to add additional employment opportunities to the city, and to ensure that we don't just grow, but always "grow smart."

Answer 2: Monmouth has had a problem attracting commercial development. I understand that we have had a reputation as being a very difficult city to work with. I firmly believe that that situation is changing.

The fixes to this problem are underway. For example, the planning commission is currently reviewing some of our business zones, intending to streamline and clarify them. Similarly, the city council and the economic development commission will be able to use the new urban renewal district to help attract new businesses.

Monmouth is putting out the welcome mat, while maintaining the high standards our residents expect.

Answer 3: I am convinced that eventually the cities should formally join forces.

I feel strongly, however, that now is not the time. Until our renaissance is farther along, I feel that a merger would not be in the best interests of either city. When Monmouth is on more stable and equal financial footing, merger could be considered.

Monmouth already shares our school and fire districts and MINet with Independence, and recently Monmouth Power and Light signed a franchise agreement allowing it to service some areas of Independence. The reality is that while we are two cities, we are increasingly one community.


City Council

Steve Milligan

Home: Monmouth.

Occupation: Retail sales.

Elected public office experience: Monmouth City Council 2003-2006.

Other: Local boards.

Answer 1: I believe the City of Monmouth is heading in a positive direction, with economic development in the forefront. We need to create an environment for financial institutions to have confidence to invest. We need to find a way to stop the leakage of Monmouth citizens' money to other communities.

Answer 2: Monmouth doesn't have an inability to attract businesses - many have come and gone. Business retention is the problem. The present attitude is that businesses in Monmouth will fail.

As with positive affirmations to make things happen, negative affirmations can make things not happen. Through the urban renewal district we need to self-fund a couple of positive developments to create the atmosphere for our local banks and financial institutions to have the confidence to invest in our community.

Answer 3: This issue is so far off the radar for discussion in this election cycle. However, I believe that a councilor's responsibility is to listen to the citizens of the community to best make a decision when the time comes.

So if you (Monmouth residents) want to express your ideas on this issue, I will listen so that I will be prepared when and if this decision is to be made.

Rob Kerr

Home: Monmouth.

Occupation: Credit union branch manager.

Elected public office experience: None.

Other: Local boards.

Answer 1: Monmouth is heading in the right direction; I hope to help push it along. I see a lot a groups doing a lot of good things and I hope to see more collaboration and harmony in the future to ensure our families, neighbors and children find purpose and meaning in preserving what we affectionately refer too as, our home town.

Answer 2: I do not intend to focus on Monmouth's past. As a city it has seen periods of great development and times of inactivity. No city can sustain its infrastructure on resident property taxes alone.

Business development, property investments, and commercial opportunity are on every block of our retail district. Monmouth is fixing itself. A new cycle is about to begin.

Answer 3: I do not think that question will need to be answered on my watch. I am happy with Monmouth being Monmouth and Independence being independent. But I see the mutual benefit of joint civic investments becoming a necessity.

We can make everything these twin towns need materialize; twice as fast, half as expensive as and better than any one could expect.

Ben Meyer

Home: Monmouth.

Occupation: Investment specialist.

Elected public office experience: None.

Other: Local boards.

(No response received.)

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