Candidate Interview, August 6, 2002 Primary
Presiding Commissioner - Dennis Norcross (Democrat)
For Warrensburg Free Press August 1 issue
Dennis Norcross of rural Warrensburg is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Presiding Commissioner; his family is from the Pittsville area. Norcross holds a BS in Business Management from Tarkio College and has been employed by United Telephone/Sprint for 35 years. He served 34 years in the Missouri National Guard where he supervised 35-40 people. He has served as a reserve deputy in the Sherriff’s Department. Norcross states that he has thought about running for office for several years because he would “like to see taxpayer dollars spent in the very best way possible.”
Norcross believes that the county jail will be a top issue over the next several years; he thinks that costs to maintain the existing jail will become prohibitive and planning must be done to balance replacement costs versus the manpower, logistics and transport costs of other alternatives. He believes that taxpayers have all the taxes they want to hear about for a while, so he is not committed to any specific method of financing a new jail. He states that he is not familiar enough with the private jail near Holden to consider it as an alternative.
Norcross is familiar with county-wide road conditions because of his current employment and is aware of the extensive maintenance needs on gravel roads. He supports the continuing program to hard surface roads and likes the property owner cost-sharing option that has been developed to accelerate some roads. However, he feels that roads should be selected that benefit the most people, not just residents.
Norcross also believes from personal observation that country sewage problems need to be addressed. He is not sure where the state versus county responsibilities should be divided but would make the issue a priority if elected.
When asked about the desirability of zoning, Norcross stated that there were some things that it would help, but people shouldn’t have the right to control how neighbors use their property as long as the use didn’t infringe on the neighbors. While he thinks that some sort of building standards or codes would be desirable from a safety standpoint, anything he would support would have to be closely tailored to this county. He believes that those to be governed by any set of rules should be the ones to vote on those rules. In a related matter, Norcross would not support a general nuisance ordinance; narrowly-written ones to address specific problems might be reasonable if desired by the people.
Norcross says that, while he doesn’t have specific knowledge of the current status, county revenue should be sufficient for operational needs with prudent budgeting. He states that “you should know your income and expenses and manage them like your household.” He is not familiar with the current wage structure for county employees, but believes that good employees should be rewarded. He observes that law enforcement expenses are driven by the need to have enough staff, equipment and communications to cover a large county with a lot of road miles.
Norcross states that he “won’t tell someone what they want to hear and won’t make promises I can’t keep. Before I say I’ll do something I’ll be darn sure I can do it.”