I attended the March 22, 2002 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m. There were actually two meetings because
There was another Commission meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
So I guess it is possible for the Commission to have an evening meeting? After all of the pushback?
To make things clearer, I’m going to write this as a combined morning and evening meeting to make things easier.
For the 10:00 a.m. meeting, Commissioners Hasty and Williams were present.
The first agenda item was a tabled item: Medical Missions for Christ Renovations.
Representatives from the Mission had previously talked to the Commission about their plans to upgrade the facility. The total costs of the improvements were $224,050. They were asking for ARPA money for this and the Auditor stated at this meeting that all but $80,000 in renovations had been approved by the county’s ARPA consulting firm. The Auditor suggested that the renovations might be approved if they provided a more detailed description of the proposed renovations. The gals from the Mission said they would get that back to the Auditor to see if it could all be approved.
It looked like that item would be able to move forward, but then Commissioner Hasty mentioned he had concerns that “Freedom from Religion” groups might have a problem with the county using ARPA money to fund a religion-based group. He stated that he wanted Charlie (Legal Advisor to the Commission) to look into that issue. Charlie said that he had checked with Lake Regional (the landlord for the building) and they were fine with the renovations. Umm, not the same issue, Charlie.
Commissioner Williams said they had already committed a lot of the county’s ARPA money and he was concerned that money had been spread “pretty thin” already.
The Auditor stated he would need at least a week to get the detailed information on the renovations and the Commission voted to table this agenda item.
The next agenda item was for new appointees to the Senior Services Fund Board. Nobody was present to speak about this item. The two people presented for reappointment to the board were Carolyn Davinroy and Janell Bednara.
They were both re-appointed unanimously.
The final agenda item was for Housing Central Development. This involved a presentation by the Lake Area Community Development Corporation. It was established in 2019 as a 501(c)(3) organization. Its objective is to assist low to moderate income individuals and families to obtain affordable housing in Camden, Miller, Morgan, and Laclede counties.
To sum up the presentation, they want to get $150,000 in ARPA seed money from each of the four counties to establish a program that would enable low to medium income applicants to gain access to USDA loans to purchase homes. These USDA loans can extend out to 38 years and would currently offer a family of four with an income of $39,000 up to $310,000 as long as their monthly bills are low. USDA would pay the associated costs of the loan.
HCD plan to partner with the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments (LOCLG) to establish a list of pre-approved home buyers that could then be used to entice regional home builders to come here and construct large scale affordable housing.
Commissioner Hasty asked how this program would be sustained after the initial investment by Camden County? The HCD representatives explained that the organization would receive money for each loan that gets processed.
The commissioners seemed to be open to the idea of contributing to the organization, but there was no action on their part.
The meeting was adjourned.
In my opinion: There is no doubt that there is a need for housing in the Lake area for buyers who want to purchase in the $200,000 to $300,00 range. This would have been a great opportunity 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, we are now facing a collision between two major factors:
A Federal Reserve Board that is proposing multiple rate hikes over the next two years which will put downward pressure on mortgage potential and reduce buying power for home buyers,
And escalating home construction material and labor costs.
After the adjournment, Commissioners Hasty and Williams talked about the upcoming evening meeting regarding CAFO restrictions and said they didn’t feel the meeting had been publicized very well. Commissioner Hasty said they would probably need to have another meeting after it and there would be no vote on the CAFO issue tonight. Commissioner Williams said there would be no final decisions.
And that was that?
And then I attended the 6:30 p.m. Meeting.
All commissioners were present.
The room was packed and I estimated that the pro-CAFO folks outnumbered the anti-CAFO folks by about 7:1. (This was based on a purely unscientific count of trucker hats and overalls wearing.)
This was the second meeting on the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) ordinances. I discussed the issue in a previous article:
Before starting, Commissioner Hasty said there had been a recent court ruling regarding short term rentals on March 14, 2022. He said the Commission would address that ruling at the earliest possible time. None of the farmers seemed to care.
There were many speakers who spoke during public comment. I’m going to summarize their points.
Among the many pro-CAFO speakers, there was a representative from Missouri Farmers Care. She gave a presentation and answered questions about CAFO. She pointed out that new technology has allowed farmers to reduce the impact of animal waste, breed more efficient livestock, and run more easily regulated operations.
Getting rid of the ordinances would allow farmers to feed their livestock in Camden County and make more profit here instead of shipping them out of the county to feed up for slaughter. I wasn’t aware that Missouri is 3rd in the United States for beef production, but Camden County has to ship most of their calves out of state to feed.
There was discussion about having Camden County designated as an Agri-Ready Missouri County. This benefits of this was less clear to me, but it seemed like they would provide agricultural education to the schools, advertising, and encourage industries like meat processing plants to come in locally to reduce transportation inefficiencies for local farmers.
There were speakers who spoke on behalf of the anti-CAFO ordinances. Several of them cited an example of a hog-feeding operation that caused significant distress to its neighbors and was eventually shut down through legal action. There was also concern about the potential contamination that could come from accidents or malfunctions involving the animal waste systems.
The CAFO advocates insisted that there was almost no likelihood of any large scale hog CAFO’s coming to Camden County. According to them, they are almost exclusively managed in gigantic corporate farms.
I found the whole conversation fascinating because I am a big fan of eating hogs. The hogs seemed to be the main concern of the local residents. Poor, delicious, stinky hogs.
I was expecting that this item would be tabled since Commissioners Hasty and Williams had said just hours before that there would not be a vote on it at the evening meeting.
Williams made a motion to repeal the anti-CAFO ordinances and Gohagan seconded it. It was approved unanimously.
Frankly, things could be worse
And that was finally that.