First District Commissioner candidate Tom Pedrola (Independent)
The candidate running a write-in campaign against the first district associate commissioner says new management is needed in Camden County.
Tom Pedrola points to the ongoing problems with the Camelot Sewer District as one of the reasons.
“The county commission did a poor job of overseeing construction in the district. It was their responsibility to find competent engineers and contractors. In the course of this project there have been endless mistakes, some ending up in court,” Pedrola said.
“This is a big financial issue for Camden County residents on the system,” Pedrola said.
Those hooked to the Camelot system were told by the commission they would be paying $40-$45 a month for service. Rates started at $54.80 and are up to $68 a month. Who knows what the future holds. The cost of the disorganized way the commission handled the project is coming out of residents’ pockets,” he said.
“There are homes that were supposed to be on the system that are being left out,” Pedrola said.
“Seven homes have not been connected that should have been,” Pedrola said. “The county commission has told those homeowners that the project is finished and there is not money to do the work necessary to hook them to the sewer.“
“People who should have been hooked to the sewer were not and the commissioners just shrug their shoulders,” Pedrola said. “That’s not right.”
Incumbent First District Commissioner Beverly Thomas (Republican)
According to Thomas, Mr. Pedrola is either misinformed or uninformed on several issues.
"To begin with, the Camelot sewer project was already in process before I was elected. The district was formed and a vote of the residents was completed, also before I was elected. Mr. Pedrola did not live here at that time so was not a part of the vote to proceed with the project," Thomas said.
According to Thomas, shortly after she was elected, the county posted a request for qualifications for an engineer. All respondents had references checked and Schultz & Summers was selected. The engineer then put together the project, supervised and recommended a contractor. The engineer was then the one that hired the inspectors and oversaw the project.
"All of this was under the watchful eye of Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Agriculture who were supplying the funding. The only part that ended in court was when the contractor took bankruptcy and the court had oversight on their insurance," Thomas said.
"The original person who put the project together was the one who was quoted on the rates. Rates are determined by DNR and USDA. They are based on the user cost of the system. The system is paid for by the users, not Camden County taxpayers. This is only fair as they are the only ones that have use of the system. The Camelot system, as well as Sunny Slope and Normac are managed by a Board made up of residents within the three systems. These people have a vested interest in the systems as other residents would not," Thomas continued.
Page 2 of 2 - "Again, all three systems are funded by user rates, NOT taxpayer dollars! The seven homes that were omitted by the engineer are still being evaluated for viability into the system. This also falls under the problem, these are funded by users, not taxpayer dollars. About a month ago there was a public hearing on setting the rate for the GO (General Obligation) bonds for the Camelot Sewer System. Not one person, including Mr. Pedrola, showed up. The rate was not raised. I find it interesting that Mr. Pedrola has never been in the Commission office to discuss concerns over the system, or ever been in contact with any Commissioner."