September 14, 2021 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.

This is a summary of the meeting. All commissioners were present. There were about half a dozen of us in attendance besides Camden County employees.

Camden County Commission from left to right:
Legal Advisor Charlie McElyea, Commissioner Gohagan, Presiding Commissioner Hasty, and Commissioner Williams

The air conditioning wasn’t working and I’ll tell you, it was pretty warm in there. Maybe the Commission needs to make a Budget Amendment to replace the A/C.

The first agenda item was for three seats on the Wastewater Variance Board. Three members have their terms expiring in October and they would all like to serve new 2 year terms.

The Commission voted unanimously to reappoint the three members to new terms.

The second agenda item was budget amendments. The Auditor, Jimmy Laughlin, went up to the Commission table and presented them with two amendments. One was for $13,000 for the Collector’s Office for something to do with their system for publication of properties.

The second agenda item was for Road and Bridge, moving funds to asphalt and chad. This was for $155,714.

It would be helpful if the auditor would announce the amendments from the podium, telling us where the money is coming from, where it’s going, and how much money is being moved before he brings the amendments up to the Commissioners to review. It’s hard to make out what he’s saying when he’s talking to them with his back to the audience.

These amendments were approved unanimously.

Things got a little more interesting after that. Former Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham was present with her husband and they had a big map board with them. I checked the agenda and I couldn’t see anything else on the agenda that would require a map board. Before the meeting started, she had asked if there was a public comment portion of the Commission meetings. When I told her there wasn’t one, she asked how the Commission gets comments from the citizens who are attending. I smiled and told her there were two ways we usually do it. We either raise our hands and wait for a commissioner to call on us or we just blurt something out during the meeting. Yep. That’s where we’re at, folks.

Cunningham stood up and started to introduce herself to the Commission. She explained that she was there in her capacity as a private citizen and wanted to talk to the Commission about their role in the Planning and Zoning process. Presiding Commissioner Hasty interrupted her and told her that the item she wanted to discuss was not on the agenda for that day’s meeting. She didn’t seem to really care what Hasty thought and politely continued with her presentation. Commissioners Gohagan and Williams both said they should let her continue and she did. Commissioner Hasty did not look happy about it. I don’t think Senator Cunningham gave a whit what he thought and her husband came up and was holding the big map board next to her. I was impressed.

Senator Cunningham told the Commission she lives in Osage Beach near the Swiss Village condominiums. That area is zoned as Residential. The neighborhood had two properties that were grandfathered in that rented boat slips to the people who lived in that area. Recently, one of the boat slip properties had been purchased by the Freedom Boat Club. This is a company that offers time share rentals for boats to members.

According to their website, they were adding a new dock with 42 slips and customer parking. Swiss Village Road is the only access to it. The road is narrow and windy. The Freedom Club is currently storing boats on an old tennis court on the property. They have also added a driveway that was put in without a permit.

The local residents signed a petition objecting to the expansion of the Freedom Club’s operation and many residents attended the Board of Adjustment meeting regarding this property.

Senator Cunningham asked the Commission to adopt a policy of adding the Camden County Commission to the appeal process for Board of Adjustment decisions. Currently, the only recourse is to take the matter to court.

The Commissioners listened to what she had to say and then the Commission voted to go into closed session to discuss legal matters.

And that was that.

After the meeting, I talked to the Auditor and he said he is researching video equipment so that Camden County can purchase a modern video system that can record what happens at the Commission meetings and make those videos available to the public.

Senator Cunningham’s presentation raised an interesting issue. Apparently, you can’t present something to them without it being on the agenda. I’ve asked the Commission before how we are supposed to request that items be added to the Commission agenda. I was told that you have to call or email the Commissioners and request that an item be added. Apparently, it’s then up to their discretion whether they want to add the suggested item to the agenda at a future meeting.

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