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SBJ Photo by APRIL TURNER
SBJ Photo by APRIL TURNER

Greene County commissioner tackles budget issues

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Greene County Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock has held his post for 11 days, but already he is making the position his own.

Viebrock sat down with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson on Jan. 11 at the first 12 People You Need to Know event of 2011 to discuss his transition from the Missouri House of Representatives to the Greene County Commission and his goals for his elected four-year term.

In November, Republican Viebrock unseated 16-year veteran Dave Coonrod, a Democrat, to take the roughly $73,000 job.

Viebrock's first order of business is gaining support for his proposed 2011 budget, which is flat at roughly $97 million.

Viebrock will be meeting with other county officials and citizens today to discuss his plans for the budget.

He plans to make a motion to eliminate the Greene County administrator position, currently held by Tim Smith.

Viebrock said, if approved, the $108,000 salary previously budgeted to that position could be applied to more dire needs, such as county law enforcement.

The commission will hold a public meeting tonight at 7 p.m at the  Historic Greene County Courthouse, 940 N. Boonville Ave., Room 212, to discuss the budget.

Long-term, Viebrock is targeting personal property rights issues, with hopes of giving as much freedom to property owners as mandated by state and federal laws. To accomplish this task, he said the county's land use plan could be tweaked.

Viebrock said term limits caused him to look closer to home for his next job after serving four terms in Jefferson City representing the 134th District.

Having never lost an election, Viebrock was confident but aware of the challenge in facing veteran Coonrod.

"It was a huge gamble and a huge risk," Viebrock said of taking on the campaign and putting his Realtor position aside. "We launched a very aggressive campaign to take out a 16-year incumbent."

And though the area largely votes Republican in election cycles, Viebrock said he didn't take the election lightly. His full energy went into his campaign, and he enlisted the support of his family and friends to help ride the wave.

"There's not this magic bullet," Viebrock said of running a political campaign. "It truly is as simple as hard work. You've got to walk miles every single day."

Viebrock joins Republicans Harold Bengsch and Roseann Bentley on the Greene County Commission.

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