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story.lead_photo.caption Judge Barry Moehring (left) and Ronnie L. Smith

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County Judge Barry Moehring, a Republican, faces Libertarian Party candidate Ronnie L. Smith in the Nov. 6 general election.

Moehring is seeking a second term in office, having been elected in 2016. If successful, he will serve a four-year term because state law has extended the term from two to four years. The Benton County judge is paid $100,555 per year.

Barry Moehring

Incumbent

Republican

Age: 52

Residency: Bentonville resident since 1999

Employment: Benton County judge since 2017. Prior to 2017, worked in the Walmart supplier community and in real estate investments

Education: Bachelor of science degree in political science from University of Arizona

Political Experience: Benton County justice of the peace from 2013 through 2016

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring
Ronnie Smith, BenCo County Judge Candidate

Smith, who has run unsuccessfully for county judge three times, did not respond to messages seeking comment left on his cellphone, at his home and with the Libertarian Party.

Moehring said he wants another term to continue the work he has started.

"The issues I ran on are issues today," he said, "better planning, financial stewardship and higher professional standards. There's always going to be things we need to do. There's no end to them."

Moehring said one example of better planning is the adoption of a new model for the Road Department to set the annual work program and to prioritize projects. The county hired a firm to drive all of its paved roads and do a video assessment of their condition. An evaluation of the work needed followed, and the work program was developed based on that information.

"In the past, decisions to work on our roads and bridges were very subjective, based on who had driven the roads and what they had observed," Moehring said. "Now, we're data-driven and more objective."

Moehring said plans for a new courts facility also show better planning and concern for taxpayers' money. The county plans a $30 million building on Second Street in downtown Bentonville. The Quorum Court has formulated a plan based on a temporary one-eighth-cent sales tax as the main funding component. That funding proposal is expected to be put to the voters in March 2019.

"Our courts facilities are currently inadequate and need to be improved," Moehring said. "We have an outstanding plan for expanding that, and we hope to start next year by breaking ground on a new facility."

Moehring said he strives to improve the efficiency of government and reduce the cost. He has cut six positions from the departments under his supervision in the 2018 budget through reorganization and shifting duties. For 2019, he said, similar efforts will reduce the staff by another four positions.

"We've worked hard toward budgets where we can maintain services more efficiently and effectively," he said.

Early voting starts Oct. 22.

NW News on 10/10/2018

Print Headline: Libertarian challenges Benton County judge

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