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Columbia Missourian

County development, budget among voter concerns for commissioner

By Nikki Tekeei
July 29, 2010 | 7:39 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The growing size of Boone County and the county’s revenue are some of the main issues for both residents and current commissioners as voters Tuesday choose the Democratic nominee for Boone County’s next presiding commissioner.

Some residents said they were concerned with the process of expansion.

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“I guess I am always concerned about issues of our local environment and how they are related to issues of growth,” said Rachel Brekhus, first vice president of the Boone County chapter of the League of Women Voters. “A growing population is a good thing; a sprawling landscape is not a good thing,” she added.

A 2009 U.S. Census report estimates the resident population of Boone County at 156,377.

The “inevitable growth of the city (Columbia)” is a main issue, said Daria Kerridge, a supporter of candidate J. Scott Christianson. Part of that is “to preserve the rural heritage of Boone County,” something she says Christianson can address.

Christianson faces John Sam Williamson for the right to challenge Republican Ed Robb in the general election in November.

Ken Pearson, Boone County’s presiding commissioner, said one of the challenges for current and the future commissions is “honoring those things that are in the county and agricultural community” while at the same time making sure to “provide economic opportunity for everybody in the county all over the county.”

Shelly Dometrorch, secretary and board director of the Boone County Fire Protection District, said one of her biggest concerns is county finances.

“Well, obviously, money, because it’s always an issue right now," Dometrorch said. "Making sure government has as much as it needs right now to pay people well.”

Other issues include the quality of roads.

“Our roads are ridiculously bad,” said Dometrorch, who lives in Rocheport.

District I Commissioner Karen Miller said roads are one of the three issues constituents contact her about the most. The others are nuisance issues and planning and zoning related concerns. However, she and Pearson said they don’t receive too many calls from constituents.

“Most of the time, people who call are concerned,” Pearson said. “They would like to be listened to. That’s what it really comes down to.”

Pearson’s term as presiding commissioner ends this year.