Jerry Merrill hopes to continue serving the people of Rexburg with the experience and knowledge he’s gained over the past four years.
Merrill is the current mayor of Rexburg and is running for re-election in what would be his second term.
He’s 62 years old and has lived in Rexburg for the past 40 years with his wife Marianne. He attended school at Ricks College where he received an associate’s degree in Landscape and Nursery Management.
Merrill has served as a Rexburg city councilman, on the city of Rexburg’s Board of Urban Renewal, Traffic and Safety Committee and the Budget Oversight Committee. As mayor he’s worked directly with the Madison School Board and the Parks and Recreation Board.
He started his own landscaping business 39 years ago, which has grown tremendously since. He’s also the owner and driver of the Bobcat Spirit Bus.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, the mayor expounded on how much he’s enjoyed his time in office. He said he’s learned much and still has much left to learn but feels pleased with what the city’s been able to accomplish.
“I fell in love with public service when I served on the city council and that’s one of the reasons I decided to run for mayor,” Merrill said.
Merrill commented that elected office and public service runs in his family to some degree. He said his uncle and grandfather both served in the Idaho state legislature.
When asked what he felt are the most important things the city has accomplished during his time in office, Merrill mentioned an upgrade to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, expanding area for city parks, and increasing the city’s budget for road maintenance.
Merrill also said he’s proud of the city’s efforts toward plowing roads and fixing potholes, though they’re always open to change for the better.
“We’re always looking for better ways and good ideas,” he said. “Sometimes folks complain that we don’t get the ice off the roads and people just have to understand that our climate is very cold.”
Merrill said those sub-freezing temperatures that last all day mean ice builds up and rarely has a chance to melt in the winter. He explained the city works to mitigate those problems as effectively as possible and is generally pleased with how their snow removal is done.
The mayor said the most important issues facing Rexburg moving forward are related to growth. That means dealing with issues related to land use and zoning, city water distribution, and other infrastructure needs.
As a business owner himself, Merrill said they try to make it as easy as possible for businesses to come to Rexburg and to thrive.
“We’ve gone through our development code and we’ve tried to simplify it as much as we could,” he said.
Merrill also said they’ve tried to develop an attitude at city hall of helping people to accomplish their goals and to do them right.
He said the city is consistently working to overcome any disconnect that community members may feel between the students at BYU-Idaho and the rest of Rexburg. He noted events like Experience Rexburg, Carousel Kick-off, free and reduced-cost concerts at the Romance Theatre, and Oktuberfest.
Overall, he said the interactions between college students and the city as a whole have been very positive, as have his past four years as mayor.
“I would like to continue to serve the people of Rexburg and really apply the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained,” he said. “I think I can be more effective [in a second term] because of that.”