Planning and Zoning remains undone, with any changes still months away. the county is waiting for the results of a state audit, and although the offices involved have changed, the friction between some county officials and the commission office remains.
In his bid for election in 2014, Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty promised voters he would tackle planning and zoning, and repair the discord among former county officials. Planning and Zoning remains undone, with any changes still months away. the county is waiting for the results of a state audit, and although the offices involved have changed, the friction between some county officials and the commission office remains. The Lake Sun asked Hasty to expand on several of the topics that have come up during the election.
Q. Explain the Passport Fund and how those funds are utilized in relation to the overall budget.
A. The Camden County Commission collects a processing fee to do passport applications.
The funds collected are used as a discretionary fund to offset needs with the administration of the Camden County Commission Office.
Q. What are your budget priorities for the county?
A. My budget priorities are determined by the needs of the other county offices. Each elected office holder has wants, as well as must haves. In each year’s budget those wants and needs are variable. That’s why we have budget meeting with the other elected officials, as well as administers. That is when my budget priorities are made. The goal of the Camden County Commission is to make sure the “MUST HAVE” needs of each office are met. After we have addressed essential services of each office, we do our best to balance the additional requests equitably, based on funds available to the overall budget.
Q. You have discussed the need for road improvements and improved maintenance, yet have cut budgeted asphalt maintenance funds. Please explain this course of action.
A. No. Each year we budget funds for asphalt, base rock, culverts, equipment, and many other items. During the course of the year, every year, we adjust those funds from one budget line to another, based on the actual needs at the time. This is determined by the Road and Bridge Administer. We usually budget for more asphalt than we can actually put in place, which is highly dependent on the weather. When we have more money in asphalt that we can actually put down, we move those funds to meet other needs as outlined by the administrator. Our budgeted and expended funds at Road and Bridge has been increased each year I’ve been in office. .
Q. To follow up on roads, you have stated the county needs more road and bridge funding. Do you still believe this is the case? And what do you believe needs to happen to accomplish better roads in Camden County?
A. We certainly want to see long term improvements in our roads. That is why, the Commission applied for, and received a $600,000 grant from the State of Missouri to pave Dry Hollow Road.
Beyond that, the economy continues to improve. Sales tax numbers have been up substantially over the last four years. The Camden County Commission has bid out insurance, banking, and made other cuts, that equal hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings every year. Our ability to meet needs in the county regarding roads continues to improve. Our budget for roads will be up about 1 million dollars in 2019.
Also, we need to see what happens with Proposition D on November 6. If proposition D passes, Camden County will be receiving over 1.2 million additional dollars every year, within 4 years. Those funds, in addition to the additional sale tax income of our expanding economy, will make a world of difference to road improvements.
Q How are road maintenance and improvements prioritized?
A. Roads work in Camden County are prioritized, based on the condition of the road, and how many citizens the road serves. The Camden County Commission recently met with the Road and Bridge Administrator along with the Supervisors of the North and South shed. We went over road conditions, and the number of homes served to make decisions about priorities for 2019. An example of such a project is Lake Road 7-13 which was resurfaced on 2018. The road was in really bad shape and served hundreds of homes. In 2019 we will be resurfacing Lake Road F-12, which is in bad condition, and serves hundreds of homes.
Q As one of the main financial officers of the county overall, what are your priorities for balancing the needs of the various departments and how do you go about accomplishing that?
A. This question is redundant. The answer is covered in question two.
Q What do you see as your role, and what are your plans for, promoting economic development in Camden County?
A. Most of the major commercial growth in our economy takes place in our municipalities. The Camden County Commission must support the needs of our cities as related to that. An example is the recent issue regarding the expansion of the rock quarry just outside the Sunrise Beach City limit. The city of Sunrise Beach made clear to the Camden County Commission that the proposed expansion was not in the city’s long term best interests. The Commission supported their position by denying the expansion.
Camden County has around 45,000+/- homes, of which about 30,000+/- are owned by people that don’t live here. That makes protecting second home ownership at the Lake of the Ozarks of prime interest to the Camden County Commission and myself in particular. You have no economy without people. Having people in those 30,000 is critical to the wellbeing of our economy. I have a proven track record of protecting second home ownership in Camden County. At a recent meeting with Realtors® they called me “The Gatekeeper”. With my knowledge and experience, I can competently protect our growing economy. That is why I was endorsed by the Lake of the Ozarks Board of Realtors® in 2014, and have their unanimous endorsement again in 2018.
Q You've stated in campaign advertisements that the zoning code has been redone. Is there a new code now in place? If not, how long has the county been working on it and how much has been spent in legal/consultant fees?
A. It’s has been a long process to get this draft code revision completed, so it can be finished by our citizens. The revised code was prepared by our Planning and Zoning attorney and the Planning and Zoning Administrator, over about the last 3 years, at a fix cost of $50,000. There is a lot of legal work to be done to make sure it complies with statute law and court decisions. The preliminary draft has not been available to the public, or the County Commission until now. It contains many revisions that they recommend from the administrative and enforcement prospective. Now we need to make sure it is a reflection of the will of the people, and what they want the rules to be.
In the past the code was put in place quickly, without much input from, realtors, surveyors, title professionals, builders, and the public. The Camden County Commission intends to make certain, that this does not happen again. It is of prime importance that this ULC code is based on the desires of the citizens. We’re going to take all the time we need, and as many public hearing as necessary to get this done right this time. The Camden County Planning and Zoning Board is encouraged to take all the time they need, and have as many meeting as they deem necessary. Following that, the Camden County Commission will be appointing an “Advisory Committee to the Camden County Commission”, as outlined in Section 304 (3) of our current code. This new ULC will only be adopted by the Camden County Commission after revisions by the Camden County Planning and Zoning Board, citizens, and review by the Advisory Committee to the Camden County Commission. Our goal is to have a workable code that fits the unique nature of our land, lake, and economy. More than anything else, it must represent the will of the citizens.
Q In the midst of the public hearing process for the proposed new zoning code, the commission has requested major changes to the code including mixed use development, lakefront zoning designations and more. Where does this proposal fit into the current code amendment process and how do they tie into the county's master plan?
A. Camden County has many needs regarding housing which were not addressed in the original code from 2004. In fact, the original code was taken almost word for word from and old code in another county. As such, our current code could not have interfaced with the Master Plan. The revisions suggested by the Commission are based on actual housing needs in our community. Our revised ULC must provide a workable framework for controlled growth that meets the needs of our county, and actually conforms to the Master Plan.