June 29, 2021 Camden County Commission Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

All commissioners were present.

The front entrance of the Camden County courthouse is open again.

There were only two of us in the audience other than county employees.

The first agenda item was the EMA Budget. This is for Camden County’s Emergency Management Agency (https://emacamdenmo.org/).

A significant portion of the EMA budget is funded by a grant called EPMG (Emergency Management Performance Grant). It pays approximately 50% of the budget. The COVID-19 pandemic added a lot of new emergency management directors at the city government level and this grant money was diverted to pay those salary positions first across the state. As a result, there is not much grant money left to fund the EMA. The funding fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30 which does not coincide with the Camden County fiscal year.

The EMA asked for $62,000 and received $51,000. That amount paid for half of the salaries for the two employees and left $2,300 for operating costs. EMA has already been making cuts to its utility service and travel costs. This has been a problem for EMA’s across the state. The Auditor asked what the EMA plan was to cut expenses.

The EMA representatives said the annual cost for their Nixel alert service was $8,300. Nixel is the emergency alert system for Camden County. Even partially reducing the Nixel cost would mean the EMA would lose emergency access to approximately 12,000 landline telephones in Camden County.

The EMA representatives said they lost $7,000 for the current funding fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). They don’t know what the cuts will look like for next fiscal year.

Commissioner Hasty complained that this is another example of Missouri pushing traditionally state level expenses onto the counties. He used the transfer of maintenance of county lettered highways to county maintenance as another example. He also mentioned Missouri currently owes Camden County hundreds of thousands of dollars for jail inmate expenses.

Commissioner Gohagan asked the Auditor where Camden County currently was regarding spending. The Auditor responded that Camden County usually spends 40% of its unbudgeted contingency fund in a year. Camden County has already spent 80% of that money! The Camden County fiscal year is from January to December. It’s late June.

According to the 2021 Camden County budget, $360,000 was allocated for the Contingency Emergency Fund.

The Auditor explained that Camden County has incurred significantly higher unbudgeted expenses this fiscal year due to the added charges for the Juvenile Center roof repair, the Sheriff’s Office, the Medical Examiner contract, and legal bills.

EMA representatives stated they needed $4,500 for the remainder of the year to cover expenses and travel for training through December 2021.

This was the first time I’ve really seen the commissioners hesitate to approve an unbudgeted purchase. Just a month or so ago, they were willing to spend an estimated $8,000 on a dog box for animal control without a firm proposed price. Now there is concern about spending $4,500 on a critical emergency service. What a difference a few months make!

The commissioners discussed this with the Auditor and they agreed to fund the $4,500 shortfall with money from the Passport fund. The Treasurer said the Passport fund has approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in it. This proposal was approved unanimously by the commission.

There was discussion about whether the Commission office is processing passports again and Commissioner Hasty stated they are not. He said they should open that service and start processing passports again. The way spending is going that seems like a good idea to me!

The second agenda item was for the Treasurer banking bid award. The Treasurer, Kendra Hicks, was present and she had reviewed the bid from Central Bank. Camden County currently uses Central Bank. Representatives from Central Bank were present. Central Bank is offering better interest rates for the county’s checking accounts and CD’s. The rates will improve from 0.10 to 0.30. Camden County has $8.9 million in one CD account and $3 million in another CD account. The Treasurer recommended staying with Central Bank.

The commissioners unanimously approved the proposal to continue banking with Central Bank.

And that was that.

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