I attended the February 7, 2023 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.
All three commissioners were present.
The meeting was held in the conference room of the Commission Building, and it was a packed house.
The first agenda item was CART Map Follow Up.
Camden County is finalizing its CART Map. The Road and Bridge Administrator said they should have the map complete in the next few days. They are measuring the roads and just have to finish measuring A Road to Richland. This map will determine what roads the county does and does not maintain. They expect this revision to reduce the CART map by 16-17 miles.
Commissioner Skelton stated that they have received more guidance regarding the upcoming marijuana sales tax ballot provisions. The county 3% sales tax can not be applied to dispensaries that are subject to a municipal marijuana sales tax. So it sounds like in unincorporated areas of Camden County, marijuana sales could be subject to state and county sales tax.
The second agenda item was Water Districts 2 and 3 – ARPA Funds and Grants
The Camden County Commission had previously tried to provide partial funding to the county’s various water districts when they applied for the last round of ARPA funding for water projects from Missouri DNR. The Commission was told that the applications would be ranked higher if the county provided 21% of the requested grant money up front.
Not a single Camden County water district application was approved for funding by DNR. Commissioner Gohagan said that he reviewed which applicants were given these grants and it seemed like the deciding factor was really the Median Household Income for the district. The MHI for Camden County’s water districts simply wasn’t low enough.
After seeing these results, the Commission was considering releasing the ARPA money that had been earmarked for these 21% grant pledges and giving that ARPA money to the districts to make necessary improvements and repairs.
The Commission then gave the various water board members a chance to explain some of their critical needs. The one thing that came across during all of this is that the members serving on these boards were the majority of the crowd at this meeting and they really seemed to care about providing quality water service to their members.
PWSD #2 needed to replace 14 miles of existing line to Montreal. They also wanted to install 100 feet of standpipe and build a new well and well house in Montreal. The Commission voted unanimously to release the $1,050,000 in ARPA funds that had been earmarked directly to the water district.
PWSD #3 had a problem with their lines at Tower #1. They had leaks in the lines that are causing a 50% loss in pumped water. They’ve also considered installing an iron filtration system on Tower #2, but it sounded like the leaking pipes were their first priority. The Commission voted unanimously to release $366,450 in ARPA funds that had been previously earmarked directly to the water district.
PWSD #4 and #5 will get their chance too, but they need to be on the agenda first.
The third agenda item was Assessor Contract with The Hunter Group.
The Assessor told the Commission he would like The Hunter Group to write a program that will provide a weekly report of address changes for the Tax Assessor and the Collector. This was going to cost $3,600. After hearing about all of the money the water districts needed, this really didn’t seem too bad to anyone.
The Commission approved this unanimously.
The fourth agenda item was the appointment of Cindy Skola to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Commissioner Gohagan said that Skola was one of the original developers at Old Kinderhook. Nobody seemed to have any issue with this appointment. Commissioner Skelton stated they had two open spots still on that Commission.
The appointment was approved unanimously.
The fifth agenda item was Osage Beach ARPA Requests.
The Osage Beach mayor, police chief, and the assistant city administrator (Mike Welty) were present to discuss their request.
Osage Beach had previously requested ARPA money from Camden County and was applying to see if they could get more ARPA money for a second request. This new request was for $101,113.
Welty explained there were two parts to this request. The first part were upgrades to the police mobile terminals and docking stations. This would give the officers laptops that they could remove from their vehicles and then bring into the station to use. The second part was a public works upgrade to develop the city’s GIS and work order system. Ultimately, they would like to add an Osage Beach GIS layer to the county’s GIS map.
Commissioner Gohagan told them he would prefer to address the issues with the ARPA funding for the two other county water districts before they committed any more ARPA dollars.
Commissioner Williams asked Welty how much ARPA money Osage Beach had received for themselves? Welty estimated it was almost $1 million. He said that Osage Beach has been investing its own funds into upgrading its systems. The Osage Beach police chief stated that their current computer system was from 2009.
Commissioner Williams explained that he was asking because the Commission has given ARPA money to almost all of the municipal police departments in the county. Whenever they give some more to one department, the other departments then come back to the county asking for their share too.
The Commission asked the public for any comment. Nathan Rinne brought up the fact that when Osage Beach approved a Chapter 353 tax abatement for the housing project (The Preserve at Sycamore), they abated the county’s property taxes. He found it ironic that the city was willing to abate county taxes, but would then come to the county and ask for money.
This was then prompted an explanation from Mayor Harmison. Harmison said that after Osage Beach applied for the first ARPA money request and it was approved, they were notified that there was more ARPA money available. They were asked why they had applied for so little money the first time around. When he was told that the city had more needs, Osage Beach prepared a second ARPA request. Harmison felt like they were being treated like they were begging for money when, in fact, they had applied because people from the county had told them to apply for more. He said it had nothing to do with the 353.
Another citizen asked who from the county had asked Osage Beach to apply for the ARPA funds again? Mayor Harmison asked the people in the room if anybody else wanted to answer the question? Commissioner Gohagan mentioned that they had talked about some of these issues, but he didn’t say that he was the one who had contacted Osage Beach. In the end, we never did find out.
Commissioner Skelton said there may be more money available based on some previous ARPA commitments that were never completed.
Mayor Harmison re-iterated that they weren’t begging for money. They just had some needs that they could fix with ARPA money if it was available.
In the end, the Commission voted unanimously to table this item.
The final agenda item was Ethan Myers Trucking – Road Maintenance.
This was a long one and I’m not an expert on how Road and Bridge contracts its trucking services out, so I’ll try to summarize.
Ethan Myers owns a trucking company that is part of Camden County’s Contracted Trucking Program. He currently hauls rock for Camden County Road and Bridge, but he wanted to expand the services he provides for them. He was interested in securing similar contracts for tasks like building and repairing bridges, culverts, low water crossings, and other road maintenance tasks.
It sounded like he was seeking to complete these jobs on a contractual basis rather than on a per project bid. He felt this would be a more efficient way to complete projects for the county.
The commissioners weren’t positive they could agree to that type of contract for any purchase that would cost more than $12,000. Commissioner Skelton also seemed reluctant to fund projects on an hourly basis since they wouldn’t actually know what the final cost would be until the project was completed.
In the end, this agenda item was tabled.
And that was that.
3 thoughts on “February 7, 2023 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.”
Do you happen to know if The Hunter group is a contractor on retainer by the county? Never heard of them before. Thanks, Jennie
I believe it’s Rob, the guy that does a lot of their IT stuff, but I’m not 100% on that.