A proposed special road district is creating a firestorm of controversy in a development west of Camdenton.
The Camelot Homeowners Association spearheaded an effort to create a special road district that if passed in the April election will include the Camelot Sewer District and other areas immediately around Camelot.
It is unclear who created the proposed special road district map. Attendees at a public meeting about the ballot issue were told that the county created the map but county officials are claiming that the homeowners association created it and brought it to county officials.
"The Commission was approached by a group of citizens who wanted to know what they needed to do to set up a special road district and they were directed to Chapter 233 RsMO. Later, they came to the Commission with a map of the boundaries of the district they were proposing and wanted to know what the approximate assessed value of that district was, and we did a rough calculation for them for feasibility purposes,” Camden County Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken said. “Later, they came to the Commission with their 'official' map of the boundary and the 50 signatures required to put it on the ballot, so it was ordered that it be put on the ballot."
The ballot issue is proposing a tax levy of 35 cents per $100 assessed value on a resident's county tax bill. The tax levy affects real estate and personal property. In a handout given to attendees at a public meeting, the association is claiming that if the tax levy is passed, the district would have $200,000 per year to spend on roads.
If the levy is not passed, the flyer said, "The only way Camelot could keep up with improving the roads would be to impose a large yearly special assessment to the homeowners or raise the yearly dues to over triple current rates."
Some residents within the proposed district see the option to what happens if the levy is not passed as a bullying move.
The proposed district includes areas outside of the Camelot development. Tuscany, Trinity Point and Shores of Camelot will be included in the special road district.
Jerry Andel, President of the Tuscany Homeowner Association, said that residents in his development are concerned with the proposed special road district because they were not notified about the ballot issue. He also said that Tuscany has less than 25 registered voters and only one mile of road within the district. According to Andel, the road included in the new district is in "perfect condition."
For concerned voters like Andel, they do not understand why they must endure a tax hike on real estate and personal property when in reality their roads will not benefit from the levy.
"It looks very much like they are trying to get a tax base large enough to get money that they could not get by themselves," Bud Buse, President of the Shores of Camelot Association said. "It seems like this was arranged by Camelot Estates for the benefit of Camelot Estates, but they needed a bigger tax base to make it work.
Camelot Homeowners Association had to collect 50 signatures from registered voters in order to get the tax levy on the ballot. Members of the board went door to door and spoke to residents. According to Robert Reeves, a Camelot resident, the board told him to sign the petition and the county would take over the roads. He was never told of a tax increase or that residents would make up the special road district.
Lake Sun contacted Bart LeBraum with the Camelot Homeowners Association. LeBraum refused to comment on the proposed special road district.
The election takes place on April 2. The special road district includes 616 registered voters and must receive 57.25% votes in favor of the issue to pass.