You don’t get the best if you don’t get people willing to engage in the process.

In the nearly five years since Josh Messmer has served as Morgan County administrator, he has worked to engage with elected officials, with the public and other community leaders to ensure the county government runs smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

“Things operate, hopefully, a lot differently today than when I first started,” he said. “And we’re changing as a community. For a long time, we were able to be a little more ad hoc and go with the flow but with demands being put on us by our citizens as well as developers and changing times, we’ve had to change what we do. None of that is to say that things before us weren’t good but we were finding ourselves in a position to adapt.”



Originally from Martinsville, Messmer graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering. After college, he spent a year in Indianapolis before feeling a pull to move back to Morgan County, choosing Mooresville as his new home to grow his family with his wife, Charlotte. He worked for traditional engineering firms for a while before coming to Martinsville as its city engineer.

Over time, he said the confluence of politics and business operations grew more of interest to him than engineering, so when he was asked to apply for the newly created position of county administrator it sounded like a good fit. He was awarded the position in 2019 and set off with a goal to improve efficiency and transparency within Morgan County government.

“Within the commissioners’ purview, we have biweekly department meetings – that’s dispatch, EMS, highway, all these different agencies talk to one another, find out what each other are doing,” Messmer said. “There’s different things we need from each other and helping lower the barriers to communication is something we’ve worked hard on and I think we’ve made some strides.”

Much of what Messmer does professionally is communicating and working with people throughout the county.

“I’m fairly process oriented as an engineer,” he said. “We see a problem, we try to figure out a process, handle it and standardize it. To me, the biggest thing our government can do is provide consistency both to our residents and those who are looking to come in from the outside, whether it be to live, develop something or to be a business. People should expect when they call the government to get an answer about something. It doesn’t matter whether you call person A or person B, you’ll get the same answer. So, we’re trying to work toward a standard process and make it known internally so people know where to look for resources.”



Morgan County currently has a lot of big projects in the works. The largest is its Judicial Campus. The estimated cost of the project is around $72 million. The first of four phases is complete: a parking lot with space for approximately 200 vehicles. The county is currently working on phase 2, a three-story court building directly behind the current county administration building. Once courthouse staff can move into the new building, the interior of the current courthouse will undergo a complete renovation into office space where those in the county administration will then relocate. The final phase is to update the administration building for the prosecutor’s office and child services to utilize the second floor and a few other departments will remain in the administration building on the first floor. The county can then consolidate some of its infrastructure, eliminating buildings it no longer needs.

Morgan County is a year into the process of conducting a water study. The county has hired INTERA, a local engineering firm, to conduct a study of the county’s natural water systems. The purpose is to foresee any water resource issues and ensure that the county has a sustainable water source for its future. This is a multi-year, voluntary project which Messmer said they hope to extend years further.

“Let’s say some high water user business wants to come into the county,” he said. “Maybe we have the capacity for that and that’s great, but maybe we don’t. Nobody knows that information.”

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