I attended the January 4, 2023 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.
Well, I got the year right, so we’re off to a good start.
This meeting was held in The Commission Building conference room.
All commissioners were present and this was Presiding Commissioner Ike Skelton’s first meeting.
Commissioner Skelton explained that this meeting would be a working session. The Commission will conduct these working sessions every week. There will be no public comment at working sessions, but elected officials will be able to comment. Decisions made during these working sessions will be procedural rather than decisions involving the expenditure of funds.
Skelton stated that he would like to have the meetings recorded and posted on a YouTube channel so the public can watch the meetings. He also wanted to have videos of the meetings hosted on the county’s website.
Commissioner Williams gave an update on the courthouse renovation project. They plan to have a light pole removed. There was also a leak from a frozen valve in the Waste Water Department. Some of the drywall and flooring might have to be replaced. Most of the re-piping in the courthouse has been completed.
Commissioner Gohagan said that Camden County needs to fill spots seats on the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment. Commissioner Skelton said that the position of Planning and Zoning Administrator is also vacant. Camden County will be advertising that opening online and in news outlets.
Commissioner Gohagan stated that the county’s forensic audit is still underway. The auditors are currently processing the audit data.
The Commission also received a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Show Me Power regarding the Tunnel Dam. (Click here for more about that) The Commission seemed leery of entering into an MOU with the power company until they hear back from other state agencies regarding the de-commissioning of the power station.
The Commission has received complaints about a construction company using Good Neighbor Road for their truck traffic to build a nearby project. This issue is being investigated. (Considering the name of the road, its name seems ironic.)
Commissioner Gohagan mentioned that the county is also reviewing the maintenance of roads that Camden County shares with neighboring counties. It appears that Camden County Road and Bridge is currently maintaining a number of these roads. They are making an effort to calculate the mileage of these shared roads so the county gets an appropriate share of the CART funding for the roads they are actually maintaining.
Presiding Commissioner Skelton raised the issue of the minutes for the Commission meetings. They were previously taken by the County Clerk but they are now taken by an employee of the Commission. Commissioner Williams explained that when they attended training provided for First Class Counties, they learned that Camden County was the only First Class County that was still using the County Clerk to take their meeting minutes.
The County Clerk did not think it was necessary for him to take the minutes and he was concerned that it might create issues if there were two sets of minutes being kept for the meetings. Considering that the Commission planned on recording the meetings, he was fine with the Commission keeping its own minutes and just filing the original minutes with his office. Having heard the discussion, Commissioner Skelton stated that they would keep things the same for now.
The Commissioners discussed Camden County road maintenance. The 2023 Camden County budget has increased the funding for road maintenance. I believe they said the road budget has been increased to $11.8 million.
Commissioner Williams also mentioned that they have established a new Park Board for the park at Mack’s Creek. When the town of Mack’s Creek was unincorporated, the town’s park became county property. Camden County will lease the Mack’s Creek Park to the Park Board for $1. The Park Board will be responsible for maintaining the park, but the lease arrangement will ensure that the park is still covered by Camden County’s insurance.
The Commission hopes to come to a similar agreement with the Climax Springs School District regarding the Climax Springs Park. It still hasn’t been decided what to do with the land that contains the spring at Climax Springs.
The meeting wrapped up with a discussion among the elected officials concerning the pay for the deputies of the elected officials. There seems to be a wide disparity in pay between the deputies of the various departments and this has created some hard feelings between the employees. This appeared to be a general trend among all employees in Camden County since they lack a consistent pay scale across the board and its not uncommon for new employees to be hired on at the same pay rate as employees with much greater service times.
There wasn’t any resolution of this issue at the meeting, but it was good to hear people airing their opinions about it.
Uncomfortable conversations are sometimes the best conversations.
And that was that.