Once the new year rolled around, it was right to work for Moniteau County's newest county commissioners.
Moniteau County citizens voted for two new faces for the first and second district county commissioner seats, Clint Hoellering and Rick Messerli, in last year's August primary. The pair ran unopposed in the November general election and began their four-year terms as 2021 rang in.
Hoellering said the pair jumped right in and took care of some issues they thought had been neglected and has made it a point to be present during every work day of the year so far.
"We were both there the first day of the year," Hoellering said. "I was there at 6:30 in the morning, and I think Rick was, too."
Messerli said one of the first things the pair decided to do was to combine its road crews together, now working as a team. Roadwork also takes place along more regimented, scheduled routes now, rather than jumping around along a crew's area of coverage. He said the commission makes all of its decisions together to make sure each member stays on the same page. Safety for their crews is also a priority.
"We have a good bunch of people working for us in Moniteau County," Messerli said. "We want everybody to know that, for sure. From the office staff, courthouse, to road and bridge, to the sheriff's department, everywhere, all the way to 911. We have a lot of good people here, and that's our main concern, to take care of those people."
Messerli said the commission has already discussed goals for the coming year. Some new construction is in progress right now, and the group will put together a plan for road reconstruction.
Hoellering said public feedback he's heard already indicates the county's taken a turn for the better as far as that issue goes.
"You can tell a huge difference," Hoellering said. "I've had the community reaching out already, they see it."
Messerli said a team effort has allowed for this early progress and will continue to be what helps the county commission find success moving forward. That, along with good communication, will be crucial, he said.
The trio of Hoellering, Messerli and presiding commissioner Mac Finley finalized the county budget last week, pulling off increased wages and managing to spread money across the board to keep county employees happy.
This time around, the county was able to lean on some help from the new sales tax implemented thanks to the passage of Proposition P in last year's election cycle. That really helped, Messerli said, as did Finley's guidance in learning the ropes as far as building a budget goes. Messerli said he and Hoellering will continue to learn as they go and perform to the best of their abilities.
"Don't let anybody tell anybody (otherwise), we're going to make mistakes," Messerli said. "But we're going to correct it. We're going to stand up for what we do. If we make a mistake, we make a mistake. We'll just going to try to move forward and treat people the way they need to be treated."
Hoellering said the effect of Prop P will be a "noticeable difference" in the county's roadways by the end of the year.
"These roads will shine at the end of the year," Hoellering said. "They're going to look a lot better than what they did a year ago, weather permitting."
Finley said he's felt good about working with Hoellering and Messerli so far. The group has been able to balance the county budget for the second year in a row — an improvement, Finley said. The trio is also in agreement that it would like to modernize operations for the road and bridge departments, something Finley said he's wanted to do for a while now.
Safety measures are also in the works, such as requiring a commercial driver's license to operate some county vehicles.
"(And) I want to make sure we express our appreciation for Prop P again," Finley said. "It's going to really help us maintain our current level of operations with the sheriff's department and increase our presence on the roads by a good deal. We truly are really appreciative of that, and will do our best to manage money in a way that's cost-effective and will help move us forward."