All commissioners were present.
There were a handful of us in the audience besides the Camden County employees who normally attend.
During the Public Comment section, only one person spoke. He had concerns about the Prosecuting Attorney’s laser crime scene scanner system bid. Among other things, he wanted to be sure that Camden County had employees who would be able to operate the system and manage the data that was recorded by it.
The first agenda item was for the County Print Bid. As I mentioned in an earlier article, Alpha Graphics was the only bidder. The County Purchasing Agent said their prices were a little higher than last year, but she recommended the Commission accept the bid. Lake Printing had also been offered an opportunity to bid, but they declined to bid on it. This item passed unanimously.
The second agenda item was for the Prosecuting Attorney’s crime scene laser scanning system bid. To nobody’s surprise, Prosecuting Attorney Caleb Cunningham did not appear at the Commission meeting to answer questions from the public or the Commissioners about the system. The Commissioners said he sent them an email explaining why he wanted the system so all we were able to hear about it was their description of what Caleb told them in an email. I’m not sure if this is exactly how an open meeting about a Camden County purchase of a $92,858 system should work, but I’m not an attorney.
According to the Commissioners’ description of Caleb’s email, the vendor put on a demonstration of the crime scene laser scanning system for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Commissioners Hasty and Williams said the system will be purchased using money from the CLERF and the bad check funds. This is an interesting piece of information because I later found out that the CLERF Board has actually not agreed to allow the CLERF to fund this purchase. Oops.
Commissioner Gohagan asked Sheriff Helms how many murders the Camden County Sheriff’s Office handled this year. Sheriff Helms responded that there were three murders this year. The Sheriff also said the system could be used to investigate a variety of crimes such as burglaries, bar fights with serious injuries, and traffic collisions. Commissioner Gohagan stated that the system includes $13,000 in annual recurring costs and questioned whether we could share the use and cost of the equipment with other counties?
Despite Gohagan’s questions, it appeared the other commissioners had made up their minds to purchase the item. They explained again that the money is coming from the Prosecuting Attorney’s discretionary accounts (CLERF and Bad Checks), but the Commission still has to approve any purchases over $12,000.
Commissioner Hasty said he has received surveyor training with this type of scanning equipment and described its utility and durability in glowing terms. He stated it would enable detectives to scan a crime scene in a matter of minutes.
The Commission approved this purchase 2-1 with Commissioner Gohagan dissenting.
The next agenda item was a Planning and Zoning rezone: PZ21-0141 Babcock-Oak Point Dr/Simon Point-Rezone R-1 to A-R. Alan Babcock is the property owner and he said he wanted to clear the ground to make it into a campground for his family. His wife wants to do some gardening on the property. Nobody spoke in opposition of the rezone and it was approved unanimously by the Commission.
The fourth agenda item was PZ21-0169 Widmer-74 Bowring, Camdenton – Rezone R-1 to B-2. The owner wants the property rezoned so he can expand his self-storage facility. The owner was present but he declined to address the Commission. Nobody spoke against it and the Commission approved the rezone unanimously.
And that was that.
After the meeting, I did some sleuthing. I found out how much the parking lot that Camden County built next to the Ozarks Amphitheater earned this year. Drum roll!
The overflow parking lot brought in $5,680.
$1,700 was paid out in employee salaries to work the lot.
Total profit for 2021?:
In the July 6, 2021 Commission meeting, Commissioner Hasty said someone approached him privately and said they would be willing to pay $200,000 for that lot. With a revenue stream like that, no wonder they wanted it so bad.