It was going to be followed by a meeting Commissioner Gohagan had scheduled with Camden County municipal leaders to discuss how they planned to use their ARPA money. After 10 minutes and no appearance by the other two commissioners, Commissioner Gohagan had enough and had everyone form their chairs in a circle along with members of the audience. We did a quick introduction around the circle that included the non-government people and at that moment, Commissioners Hasty and Williams arrived and took their seats at the Commission table. After a few more minutes of discussion with the municipal leaders, Commissioner Gohagan went up to join them at the Commission table and the Commission began their meeting.
The only agenda item was listed as Holidays 2022, but it was actually about the 2021 holidays. The Commission voted unanimously to approve November 26 and December 27 as holidays. And then they adjourned.
Commissioner Williams left the room but Commissioner Hasty stayed in his seat at the Commission table outside of the circle of chairs. Commissioner Gohagan rejoined the circle and the discussion began again. It was an interesting discussion and it was informative to hear how the different municipalities are prioritizing their ARPA expenditures. All of the representatives seemed to know their business and I was especially impressed by Camdenton’s city manager.
He mentioned that Camdenton is using some of their money to give premium pay bonuses to Camdenton’s city employees who worked through the COVID issues in 2021-2021 and are still employed by Camdenton. I’m sure the Camden County employees who were present thought that sounded like a good idea. Other projects discussed by the municipalities were planned improvements to sewer and water systems.
Commissioner Hasty sat behind the Commission desk outside the circle of chairs for a few minutes and then eventually left the room.
The meeting was attended by two representatives from the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments. They are a planning commission that works with Laclede, Camden, Miller, and Morgan counties.
They can assist local governments with plan development, grant writing, training and research and a variety of other areas related to economic development and development of goals and priorities. They had some good ideas about potential uses for the money as well as information regarding what other communities are using it for. Apparently, they could also have been designated as the Camden County Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) instead of TCLA.
Brian Yansen, the Executive Director of the Council said that there were some possible changes coming which might allow a portion of the ARPA money to be used for roads. It seems the US Senate just passed a bill that will allow 30% of ARPA money to be spent on infrastructure and disaster relief.
That news might get people a little more excited about the ARPA funds.
And that was that.