The Phelps County Emergency Services Board’s treasurer is concerned about the board’s share of the cost for the April 2 municipal elections.
PCESB Treasurer Buz Harvey shared his worry during the board’s meeting Thursday night and has written to area state legislators in hoping to change or clarify state statutes regarding elections for emergency services boards.
There are four open seats on the board — two in the District One of the county and two in District Two.
Three people — Steve Zap and Stoney Byrne, both incumbents, and Randy Barr have all filed for the seats in District Two, but no one filed in District One.
When the same number of candidates file for the number of open seats on boards, there is no election. That is the case this time for the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees and the Rolla Board of Education, but when no candidates file, an election must be held.
Harvey said because the hospital and school boards will not share in the election costs this April, it will mean that the PCESB will be left to share the brunt of the costs.
“We are a countywide entity and we are going to get hit with somewhere between a $20,000 and $35,000 bill for that,” Harvey said. He estimated the higher amount might be about half the cost of the election.
Harvey compared the PCESB to public water and sewer districts, which he said, “are not unlike us in that you have a board usually made up of volunteers who don’t get any compensation.”
According to Missouri Revised Statute RSMo. 247.180, “if there is no candidate for the post of any given subdistrict, then no election shall be held for that post and it shall be considered vacant.” The board can then appoint an individual to fill that vacancy.
However, that is not the case for the PCESB. The next two board members on the PCESB could be decided by write-in votes this April.
Harvey said he wrote letters to state Sen. Dan Brown and state Reps. Keith Frederick and Jason Smith about the election, but hadn’t heard back from them as of Thursday night.
“It would be better if we did not have to share in any more election costs than we actually have to,” he said. “Let’s get that statute changed so we don’t run into this again … I want somebody to acknowledge this in time so that we can get it taken care of before we have to get stuck with another $25,000 or $30,000 bill.”
Harvey said he does not expect any change soon enough to to affect this election, but he wants to hopefully have something in place in the future.
In other business
PCESB members by a vote of 4-1 approved a resolution authorizing the board to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Rolla and Phelps County Commission to purchase software and aerial photography imaging through a system called pictometry. The board gave preliminary approval of the system at its December meeting.
Board member Pam Grow voted against the resolution. Board members Stoney Byrne, Carl Collet, Larry Seest and Buz Harvey all voted in favor of it. Board member Steve Zap was absent.
The agreement includes wording that allows any of the entities involved to withdraw from the agreement with at least 120 days advance written notice to the assessor’s office prior to the second and third flights that will take the aerial images.
Thurman noted that he drafted the agreement and that the law firm he works for represents all of the agencies involved in the agreement. Grow said she appreciated Thurman’s candor.
PCESB Chairman Paul Rueff noted that the tentative date to go live with the new Archonix computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records management system is April 15. Training on the new system will begin in mid- to late-March and there would be two weeks in April allowed for individuals to become familiar with the new system.
Communications Chief Paula Volkmer said that no issues have been reported so far with a pilot program aimed at boosting radio signal in the Duke and Edgar Springs areas. The program went live Jan. 10.