I attended the October 25, 2022 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.
The meeting was held in the Commission Annex Building conference room. There were about a dozen people there besides the Camden County employees who normally attend. There was even a dog running around. It was a pretty packed event.
Presiding Commissioner Hasty said the Commission would allow Public Comment at the beginning of the agenda and also as each item was discussed. This new approach to public comment really is a big step forward when it comes to hearing the input of the citizens who attend.
The Commission moved MO Lake Development to the front of the agenda so they could give their presentation. Blake Hodits is the Founder of MO Lake Development and he explained Phase 1 of their development plan.
Hodits stated they were there to discuss their proposal for incentives for the development. Their plan is to buy 2200 acres of property near Highway 5 and Highway 54. Cross Creek Drive runs through this property. The current owners of the property want to sell their lots as a single parcel. Camdenton will annex the property once MO Lake Development purchases it. Camdenton will then give the company access to sewer and water. There is also a natural gas pipeline and a power substation nearby.
Phase 1 will include a “shouse” community, multi-family housing, and single family housing. There will be an RV park that will initially be used to house the workforce who will build the infrastructure for the development. Hodits’ plans also include a sports complex, a hotel, and restaurants. He expects there to be approximately $170 million in total construction during this phase.
90% of the property will be annexed by Camdenton. The remainder will be annexed by Linn Creek. This annexation will increase the size of Camdenton by 60%. The Phase 1 construction will add $36 million in taxable value to Camden County and bring in between $49 million to $56 million in new sales tax from the commercial developments. Once the project is complete, the roads will be turned over to the city for maintenance.
The company’s plan is to create the infrastructure and then subdivide the property for sub-developers who will join the project and develop the various subdivisions.
It seemed that the incentives they were asking from Camden County were still being negotiated, but it included a possible sales tax share, an Industrial Development Authority, and PACE financing. Hodits mentioned that it would be much easier to bring in sub-developers to join in the project if these incentives were offered. His proposal to Camden County was similar to the incentive deal they have made with Camdenton.
Many counties and cities in Missouri have Industrial Development Authorities (IDA). From the description of Kansas City’s IDA, they have “the power to issue industrial development bonds to facilitate the financing of qualified business projects. Project assistance may include the purchase, construction, extension, and improvements of office buildings, hospitals, retirement facilities, warehouses, distribution facilities and industrial plants including the real estate, buildings, and fixtures. The interest on the revenue bonds may be tax-exempt which results in a lower borrowing cost.”
This link explains PACE financing.
The Commission voted unanimously to have a closed session to discuss the terms of the company’s request for incentives and have the attorneys review it.
As the MO Lake Development people left, I stopped Blake Hodits and asked if I could take a photo of the large Phase 1 map he showed us at the meeting. He declined to let me take a picture of it. I pointed out that he had just showed the giant map to everyone at a public Commission meeting, but he again declined, telling me a picture of the development was on their website.
Alas, the Gadfly gets rebuffed again. No visitor’s pass and now this? A lesser Gadfly might not be able to endure such rejection. I probably rolled my eyes, but I think I did a decent job of hiding my disappointment.
Here is the photo from their website. The one on the big board was probably much better. To orient you, Linn Creek is on the right side:
Back to the meeting!
The next agenda item was a contract for Kathy Kenna-Fewell. The County Auditor wants to bring her back from retirement part-time to conduct training. Kathy’s smarter than me. She figured out how to get a paid gig after retirement.
The Commission approved her contract unanimously.
The third agenda item was for the Forensic Audit Bid Openings.
These were the bids to conduct a forensic audit of the Camden County Collector’s Office. There were two bids. One was from RubinBrown. The other bid was from MBD Accounting. Judging by the looks and muttering as the county officials looked through the bids, they weren’t cheap.
The Commission voted unanimously to table the bids for review.
The final agenda item was for a contract with SAM for assistance on the GIS mapping for the Tax Assessor’s Office. The Assessor wanted to hire SAM to catch up on a three month backlog with the GIS mapping system. The mapping process is the actual drawing of the lot lines on the satellite images within the GIS system. The contract was for $18,000. The Assessor has had some critical employees retire recently and he thought it would be a good opportunity to see if SAM could handle the mapping updates more efficiently than hiring brand new employees and waiting for them to learn on the job.
This contract was approved unanimously.
And that was that.