Republican incumbent Jim Marcum is seeking re-election as Pettis County Western Commissioner against challengers and fellow Republicans Jack Robinson and Jason D. Cunningham, all of Sedalia, in the Aug. 2 primary election.
Marcum is in his first term in the Pettis County Commission, bringing 43 years of road construction experience to the position. He said he decided to run for a second term to finish projects the county has started and because he enjoys working for the county and for citizens.
Marcum said top concerns facing the county include keeping up with maintenance on county roads and bridges as well as at the Pettis County Courthouse.
“Bridges is always a big concern. The deteriorating roads for the county road crews here, we’re already into our 15th year on some of these roads we initially started on this and so they’re staring to deteriorate,” he said. “We’re trying to either prolong them or rebuild them to a better standard. We’ve come up with some new ideas and implemented them. It’s in our third year of testing these and it seems they’re working really well.
“In the courthouse there’s a few repairs that will have to come up,” he continued. “We’re looking at our 911 systems and we have repaired the elevator, so that’s an expense out of the way. Keeping up with the higher volume of traffic that’s starting to work its way through our county with the manufacturing and transportation. It’ll always be a challenge as we grow.”
He said he sees the main responsibilities of a commissioner as helping keep a balanced budget and taking care of the county’s needs, whether it’s roads, a new computer system or needs at the Pettis County Jail.
When it comes to future plans for roads, Marcum said he foresees the county continuing to use its new Base One method, which utilizes the product to harden the road enough to use a chip-and-seal top, to construct more hard-surface roads.
“The gravel roads, we’ll try to keep them up and make them drainable until we can decide if they need to be hard road or not,” he added.
Marcum said the road and bridge budget is typically split at the beginning of the year for planned and unplanned projects, and he would continue to use that method to stay within the given budget each year.
“We usually take probably 40 percent of our budget and plan roads — plan things to improve, plan repairs,” he explained. “The other 60 percent of usable money is for people needing repairs, floods, bridges that are washed out. Most of that is for day-to-day when people call in with unplanned activities. We try to get as many things as we can planned and we complete those while we are working on the problems of people calling in from the county.”
Goals for office include conducting more Base One projects, repairing two or three more bridges, finding a plan for 911 funding, and keeping “the patrons of the county on usable roads and taking care of problems that arise,” he said.
Challenges include dwindling 911 funding, and working to bring in more manufacturing and retail to Sedalia/Pettis County.
“I know what I’m doing, I’m good with budgets and I feel that the public trusts me,” he said of why citizens should vote for him. “I would like to keep serving them if possible.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.