Western Taney County Commissioner Jim Strafuss (Video)

1. What are some of the challenges you've faced early in office?
change in general has been the hardest. Lack of reputation, people are very scepticle. There is tramidus potential, and untapped resources.
Jim was approached in 06 to run for the office, and he said it wasnt ready. Being in the front run was not something he was interested in.

2. What was the issue with tax assesments and how were they resolved ?
How many people challenged there assessments through the Board of Equalization
from the board- the board felt that the increase was too much burden for the citizens to handle in one year. The werent disputing the accuacy. the ability to handle the increase
when you taxes go up 45% in one year most cant handle it, they wanted to phase it in.
Jim-felt way too much emotion in the meeting, when the board is in place to help oversee and fix things, once the vote is done you move on,
the sesson is over, it is resolved, they have their orders. Jim voted against the whole thing because they removed the increase last minute.

3. How has the controversy over tax assessments affected your relationship with your fellow commissioners?
For Jim personally, it hasnt, "I departmentalize and move on, BOE is a small part of my job, I keep emotion out of my job".
There is definately conflict in the office, there is times of tention. I go in do my job and go home. I never stood around the water cooler and talked.
Alot of backbiting. Im there because I want to make a change, if people dont like me they wont vote for me again. You have to ask why are they there.
There is still and east county and west county way of thinking. I dont fault their possition, if they feel passionate about it, my job if im passionate about something I try to get a majority vote
Its about getting the job done.

4. What issues do you plan to tackle over the next few months?

starting the budget process for next year.
I think theres alot of waste, better efficenties.
Focus on grants and stimulus money, big milestones coming up on that.
east west coridore, from the tiger grant money. vote tomorrow to file an app for the grant, if they are successful they will get about 75% for the east and west coridor
They are spending 50,000 to apply, 25mil, project which if they get it they will get up to 75% of that project.

5. You've been in office for about 9 months now, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far?
stop the steeling, saving money, restructuring the county, some people have moved on since hes been in office, but it has allowed a more professional invirnment
promoting from within, just changing the way things are done. becoming more fisclally responsable, and the level respect from outside community is gaining.
Communication is better.

6. What do you feel is the greatest struggle you have faced?
Old traditional thinking and reasoning.

7. I understand you took some heavy fire from another commissioner a couple of weeks ago, what was that about? Has it been resolved?

alot of people are saying there is a conflict of intrest in the two brothers, that it is an elthics issue,.
the only place that ive heard over and over again, is it ethical for one commissoner to vote on a brothers project?????

(Interview by Vanessa Dawn Adams)