February 23, 2023 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.

I attended the February 23, 2023 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.

All commissioners were present.

The meeting was held in the conference room of the Commission Building. The room was packed because this was the day that Road and Bridge bids would be opened!

The first agenda item was sound-proofing of Commission rooms.

This might surprise readers, but the state-of the-art walls of the Commission Building allow easy eavesdropping between the offices. Despite the built-in transparency that this “feature” offers, the Commission sought bids to improve the noise buffering between the rooms.

AB Pest Control offered to spray cellulose into the walls for $2,200.

GSI was willing to blow in fiberglass for $3,460.

Fortunately, there were quite a few experienced bidders sitting in the room waiting to see their road and bridge bids read. The consensus from the audience was that cellulose would provide better sound proofing.

The bid from AB Pest Control was unanimously approved.

The second agenda item was the CGI Video promotional video for Camden County.

CGI offered to produce this video free of charge for Camden County. It would be funded by local businesses.

This was approved by the Commission unanimously.

The third agenda item was Sheriff DWI Grants.

These grants fund a dedicated DWI enforcement unit as well as supplemental overtime pay for deputies working DWI enforcement. Commissioner Skelton commented that he was happy to see that the focus of the grants was on saturation patrolling versus DWI checkpoints.

The Sheriff’s representative said DWI arrest numbers have been down lately, but that could be blamed on low staffing. There is a new deputy working the DWI unit and they said he was doing a good job.

I asked if the Camden County Sheriff’s Office had any strategies to deal with more drug-related DWI enforcement with the recent legalization of marijuana in Missouri? Chief Deputy Brashear said they plan to send their DWI deputy to a Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE) School, but he has to make a certain number of DWI arrests to be eligible for the class.

(I was a certified DRE with the LAPD, so I was just curious what their plans were. From my experience, the worst DWI traffic collisions were usually the result of what we called “combos”: a combination of THC and alcohol and/or other drugs. Marijuana and alcohol, a Central Nervous System stimulant and a depressant, do not make for skillful driving.)

These grants were approved unanimously.

The fourth agenda item was Veregy-soft water and booster pump.

Jason Trickey, the site supervisor for Veregy’s renovation project at the county complex, was present for this agenda item.

Commissioner Skelton read from the estimates and stated that a large pump to circulate water in the courthouse would cost approximately $50,000 and a small pump would cost around $12,500.

(I started wondering if it would be better for folks to take the elevator down to the 1st Floor to get hot water.)

Trickey (I swear, that’s his name) told the Commission that the concrete exterior of the courthouse is done. The light poles for the parking lots and the courtyard are arriving next week. Interior painting and plastering is underway.

According to the Maintenance Department, one of Veregy’s cement trucks backed over a sewer pipe and broke it. There is currently a disagreement between the Camden County Maintenance Department and Trickey over whether Veregy is responsible for that. There were also disputes over whether the sally port soffit and the gate valve for the plumbing system were included in the scope of work.

Pretty typical customer/contractor arguments. Commissioner Skelton was adamant that nothing should delay the March project completion date.

In the end, the commissioners looked like they’d had enough and it was tabled.

The old “Table It” technique, Camden County Possum Style.

“We ain’t signing that change order. We’ll just play dead until you go back to Saint Louis. (Opens one eye) Is he gone yet?”

Trickey took off as soon as his agenda item was over. I think he’ll be happy when this project is finished.

The fifth agenda item was the CART Map.

Camden County Road and Bridge drove and measured the roads that are maintained by Camden County. The Commission will review the CART Map with Road and Bridge, but they said they dropped 16.4 miles off of the road mileage they have to service.

Commissioner Skelton stressed that it was important to have a CART Map that clearly establishes which roads are county roads. Commissioner Gohagan stated that the CART Map will be the standard that decides if a road is or isn’t a county road.

(I heard one of the roads that was left off the CART map goes through the property of a nice couple named the Bianchis.)

For reasons unknown, Commissioner Don Williams then felt compelled to clarify that the CART Map is not the only way to identify a county road. According to Williams, there are three elements that can define a county road:

  • If it’s on the CART Map.
  • Or if it’s been formally accepted by the county with a petition
  • Or if it’s been maintained multiple times by the county within a 10 year period.

Hmm. I wonder why he felt the need to bring this up.

The CART Map was tabled for further review by the Commission.

The final agenda item was the opening of all of the Road and Bridge bids.

It looked like there were over a hundred bids for a bewildering variety of categories related to road maintenance. I listed these all in detail last year and I still think the only people who were interested in that blog post were the bidders themselves. It sounded like the Road and Bridge Administrator is going to prepare a summary of the 2023 bids so I’ll post that once it comes out.

There was an issue raised by one of the trucking contract bidders at the end of the meeting. He alleged that some of the trucking bidders are not carrying the appropriate insurance for their trucks and this is allowing them to underbid properly insured bidders. He also raised a question about some of the language in the trucking bid and felt that the bid read like the trucking contract was exclusive with only a single trucking vendor. Since Camden County actually rotates truck usage between the various successful contract bidders, he was concerned that the contract didn’t actually reflect the way the trucking services were being used.

The commissioners told him they will have the County Attorney review the bid language and they will review the insurance documents to make sure they are valid and sufficient.

And that was that.

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