In the wake of a last-minute campaign that appears to be aimed at raising the possibility of the Camden County Commission imposing a utility tax, the presiding commissioner says the allegation isn’t true.

In the wake of a last-minute campaign that appears to be aimed at raising the possibility of the Camden County Commission imposing a utility tax, the presiding commissioner says the allegation isn’t true.

Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty denied the allegation that the county commission was considering imposing a utility tax on services such as electric, natural gas, water and other utilities to raise additional revenue for Camden County.

The allegation has been posted on social media, flyers and an ad being distributed in Camden County over the course of the last several days. The information being distributed cites Missouri law that allows commissions to impose a utility tax without a vote of the citizens.

The timing of the information comes within a week of the Aug. 7 primary. Hasty is running for Republican nomination to retain his seat as presiding commissioner against Republican James Rericha. Hasty was elected to his first term as presiding commissioner in 2014.  

Statements in the information being handed out cite the impact a utility tax would have on low income families and seniors and slams commissioners for considering the tax.

Rericha said his campaign was not involved. He said he  had no knowledge of who created or posted the utility tax flyers.

Exactly who is behind the distributing the information is unclear. An ad running in the Lake Sun was paid for by an individual citizen.

Although state law does allow a county  to do that if an ordinance is approved by the commission, Hasty said the Camden County is not considering a utility tax.

Although Hasty declined to do an interview, saying he did not have time, he did respond with an emailed statement.

“An attorney brought this to the commission about a year or so ago. We looked into it to see if it was legal. After some discussion, this issue was dropped, because no commissioner would consider this tax without a vote of the people,” according to Hasty.

Hasty did not provide any additional information about when the commission discussed the utility tax. There were references made about the utility tax in two stories on a local radio station.

Missouri Statue 144.032 revised in 2005  allows for such a tax to be imposed by the county and would be collected just like a sales tax by the utility companies remitted and administered by the Department of Revenue.  The DOR would then remit the funds to the County Treasurer.