Milburn has also filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General's Office over past discussion on the issue not being included in online commission minutes.
A concerned Camden County citizen took the county commission and road and bridge department to task for what he described as a failure to maintain roads and low-water crossings near the Wet Glaize Creek in southeast Camden County.
He has also filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office over past discussion on the issue not being included in online commission minutes.
Chris Milburn said the county is failing to meet Federal Highway Administration standards for two-lane rural roads, required to be nine to 12-feet in width, in several areas around Wet Glaize Road, Carroll Cave Road and Seven Springs Road.
The two low-water crossing slabs at issue are located east of Carroll Cave Road on Seven Springs Road and on Carroll Cave Road north of Wet Glaize Road, known as Perkins Slab.
Milburn said the slabs are insufficient to handle the Wet Glaize Creek, which he said has been flooded three times in the last year and a half, and are still impassable from the latest round of flooding.
“This causes property damage along both sides of the creek to pasture and farmland alike not to mention the roads themselves,” Milburn said. “You, as county commissioners, are in a position whereby you could be held responsible under misfeasance, malfeasance and non-nonfeasance of your duties as an elected official.”
The private citizen first met with the commission on May 4, 2017 to discuss road issues in the second district of Camden County, represented by Associate Commissioner Don Williams.
However, notes of that discussion, including a written statement by Milburn were never added to the online minutes of the meeting as of May 24, 2017. After questioning the county as to why the discussion or his statement didn’t appear several weeks later in the official minutes, Milburn filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General and requested another meeting on May 23, 2017.
The commission has had previous discussions regarding placing a vote on a general election ballot to form a second district special road district to help fund the maintenance of rural roads, which have been subject to budget cuts and a maintenance schedule that includes over 900 miles of road.
“After further consideration of your proposal it is my opinion that you would be abdicating your responsibility as elected officials of Camden County,” Milburn said.
Milburn suggested commissioners consider raising property taxes to help fund the road and bridge department budget, which currently receives 11 cents per $100 of assessed value.
He suggested a five-year incremental tax increase that would max out the levy at 40 cents per $100 of assessed value when the levy increase would be fully implemented in the fifth and final year.
Commissioners Bev Thomas and Don Williams expressed skepticism about passing a property tax increase, which would first require a vote of the people to withdraw a rollback implemented in the 90s, and then another vote to increase the current property tax.
Williams said that’s why he was considering the proposal of a special second district road district or a sales tax increase specifically earmarked for road and bridge as opposed to a property tax increase. Milburn suggested, and commissioners agreed, to look into whether or not the rollback and property tax increase could be added to the same ballot, or would need to be spaced out in separate elections.
“But that’s your job,” Milburn said. “To communicate with people, to sell residents on a tax increase. Being a staunch Republican myself I will only support tax increases where there is a definitive need and the needs of the people must be met with an increase in property taxes.”
Discussion also focused on whether or not a bridge could be built over the Wet Glaize Creek or rerouting the roads in the area to prevent further flooding. Schuman said the cost of a bridge that size would be in the millions, but rerouting the road would be a possibility given that a local property owner would consider donating the right-of-way to the county and the new road could be across an open field.
“We want to fix these areas,” Williams said. “We are working on some things.”
Milburn said the area is so bad that it is affecting people’s way of life, being unable to get to work or travel into town for everyday needs.
“I believe it’s your duty to offer safe passage for residents of the county,” he said, showing the commission photos of the impassable roads. “They (the roads) shouldn’t look like this.”