October 11, 2022 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.

I attended the October 11, 2022 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.

(This article was edited to reflect the fact that the Camden County service charge of 20% only applies to the 11 cent property tax levy, not the 35 cent special HBSRD property tax levy.)

This meeting was held in the jury selection room in the Camden County Justice Center. Phones aren’t allowed in the courtrooms and despite my polite efforts to explain to the security deputy that I was going in to attend a Commission meeting, he made me lock up my phone in one of the lock boxes. Sheesh.

So it was good old paper and pen for this meeting. I sulkily noticed that those attendees who had a county ID were allowed to bring phones in. If only I had been given that dang visitor’s pass…..

Commissioners Gohagan and Hasty were present for this meeting.

There were at least 20 people present besides the Camden County employees who usually attend this meeting. These included representatives from Osage Beach, the Osage Beach Special Road District, Presiding Commissioner-Elect Ike Skelton, and the entire Board of the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District.

The first agenda item was not surprisingly: Horseshoe Bend Special Road District (HBSRD).

Commissioner Gohagan stated that the HBSRD, Osage Beach SRD, and Osage Beach have had issues with the property tax pass-through funding they receive from Camden County. Lower funding over the past few years has meant the road districts have had to cut back and HBSRD’s incoming tax revenue is down an estimated $600,000 over the last 3 years. Gohagan mentioned that Camden County is also charging the road districts a 20% service fee to process their portion of the property tax that is owed to them through the road levy. Commissioner Gohagan recommended waiving the service fee until the audit is completed.

(I’ll talk more about this later, but it’s pretty shocking that the service charge is so high. When you consider that the HBSRD receives around $1.4 million each year in property tax money, the idea that Camden County would skim off $280,000 just to fulfill their statutorily required duty of forwarding the road district’s share to them is appalling. Edited: It turns out the 20% service charge only applies to the 11 cent levy, not the 35 cent special Horseshoe Bend levy.)

According to Charles McElyea, the Legal Advisor to the Commission, the statute allows a range of service fees up to 20%. It can range from 0% to 20% and Camden County charges the maximum.

Attorney Todd Miller, the legal counsel for the HBSRD, stated that over the last four years, the money the HBSRD received has gone down. He emphasized they are not claiming there are improprieties occurring. They just want to find out what the problem is. With sales tax revenue and property tax at historic highs, it’s curious that there has not been a corresponding increase in tax revenue for the HBSRD. The HBSRD would also like to know what the justification is for a maximum 20% service charge. Several other counties charge administrative fees that are much less.

Kevin Luttrell, the Superintendent of the HBSRD, told the Commission that the problems with their funding began in 2019.

Commissioner Gohagan made a motion to waive the service charge until the issue can be resolved. This was approved unanimously by the Commission.

(As most locals will realize, the idea that revenue levied from property tax over the last four years has declined is absurd. The assessed value of Camden County and the property tax collected has increased over that period. At the very least, it’s impossible that it has declined. Anybody with any common sense would realize that since the levy percentage has been the same, there should not be a decline in levied taxes. )

Todd Miller clarified that the HBSRD is willing to pay a service charge that reflects the actual costs incurred by the county for processing the property tax levy payments.


The Osage Beach SRD representatives said they have had the same problems as HBSRD. They tried many times to address this issue with the Camden County Collector, but they’ve seen no results from their efforts. Over the past years, the property tax revenue they have received has generally gone down: $277,000 (2018); 242,000 (2019); 348,000 (2020); 181,000 (2021); and 183,000 for 2022.

Todd Miller then calmly mentioned that Missouri Statute 139.210.2 directs the Collector to distribute the collected taxes by the 15th of each month. Apparently, that’s not happening. Todd was really on his game in this meeting.


The Collector stated she only gives the collected tax money directly to the School and Library Districts. The rest of the property tax gets sent from her office to the County Treasurer to be distributed. She also mentioned that most of the revenue is going to come in during the later months of the year when property tax comes due.

The next agenda item was for the Southwest Forensics Contract. Camden County contracts with them to provide Medical Examiner services. The contract pays for them to perform a certain number of autopsies. After that total is reached, Camden County has to pay for additional autopsies. Let’s hope they don’t need that portion of the contract. The contract for this year is for $282,000 which is slightly higher than last year’s contract. I guess inflation gets you even right before you’re dead and buried.

He’s faking it until the autopsy

The third agenda item was for an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) grant. The EMA Director explained that the Emergency Management Performance Grant pays 50% of their salaries and operating expenses. The grant just need to be approved. It was approved unanimously.

The final agenda item was the Request For Qualifications for the forensic audit of the Collector’s Office and Camden County’s tax processing for the road districts. Charles McElyea said he had some changes he would like to suggest and wanted to discuss them with Todd Miller, the HBSRD’s attorney. The RFQ was tabled unanimously for possible revisions.

The Commission then voted unanimously to still send out the RFQ for the forensic audit while they work on revisions to the document.

Commissioner Gohagan informed the Osage Beach SRD and the Osage Beach representative that the Commission would put the issue of their service fee on Thursday’s agenda so the Commission could vote on it.

Presiding Commissioner Hasty started complaining about the 2018 State Audit that was conducted on the Camden County Collector and Property Tax System. He felt that audit was a “whitewash” and he mentioned that he looked at audits of other counties and noticed that the language used was “word for word identical” to the language in Camden County’s audit. While audits aren’t generally creative writing assignments, it’s pretty remarkable that Commissioner Hasty would offer these critiques of the State’s 2018 Audit. Similar to prostate exams, I’ve never heard an audit recipient complain that their audit was not thorough enough. Most are just relieved that it’s over.

And that was that.

So to make things clear, here is my understanding of how this is all supposed to work.

There is a standard county-wide Road and Bridge property tax levy of 11 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Special Road Districts get their portion of this levy based on the mileage of the roads they maintain. So while Camden County Road and Bridge normally gets 11 cents per $100 assessed property value for roads, the 11 cents for properties within the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District goes to the HBSRD because HBSRD maintains them instead of Camden County Road and Bridge. This levy is called Horseshoe Bend Road and Bridge or Village of Four Seasons Road and Bridge depending on whether you live in the Village or in the Four Seasons POA.

In addition, all of the residents of the HBSRD voted for an extra 35 cents per $100 property tax levy to go to the HBSRD. This levy is called Horseshoe Bend Special Road and Bridge.

In effect, this means that residents in the HBSRD are paying a total of 46 cents per $100 of assessed valuation toward their roads.

Taxpayers pay their property taxes to the Collector. As the tax money comes in, the Collector’s Office then directly sends the school districts and library districts their share of the property tax. The Collector’s Office forwards the remaining property tax money to the County Treasurer with a list of the distribution amounts. The Treasurer distributes the property tax to the various tax entities (including the road districts) using the breakdown provided by the Collector. This money will generally come in between November and February as property tax notices are sent out and folks pay their taxes on their property and vehicles.

The fact that Camden County has been skimming 20% off the top of the 11 cent property tax levy as a service charge for collecting property tax and then distributing it to the road districts should make the the Horseshoe Bend tax payers furious. Especially since they’re skimming it off the standard 11 cents road levy which everyone in the county has to pay. Who knows? Maybe we’ll know more once the forensic audit is over. Until the forensic audit is complete, I guess we’ll just have to grin and bear it.

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