A Phelps County Emergency Services Board (PCESB) member said he has heard from at least two state legislators from this area who are willing to help change state statutes regarding elections for emergency services boards.
PCESB Treasurer Buz Harvey told the board at its March 14 meeting that he contacted state Sen. Dan Brown, and state Reps. Jason Smith and Keith Frederick about the issue.
In the April 2 election, there are four open seats on the PCESB — two in 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 th seats in District Two, but no one filed in District One.
When the same number of candidates file for the same number of open seats on most boards, there is usually no election. That is the case this time for the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees and the Rolla Board of Education.
That means the PCESB will be left to share the brunt of the election costs, which Harvey estimates to be $20,000 to $35,000.
Missouri statutes state that every entity or political subdivision with candidates or an issue/proposition on a ballot must pay for the election according to the proportional number of voters in its district.
County Clerk Carol Bennett told The Rolla Daily News Monday that a typical April election costs between $80,000 and $85,000, but the cost depends on the number of boards and municipalities holding elections. Bennett said the cost for this year’s election has not been determined yet.
Harvey compared the PCESB to public water and sewer districts and noted that if no candidate files in water or sewer district elections, the posts are considered vacant and the district boards can then appoint an individual to fill that vacancy.
“All we’re seeking is ... the same shelter the public water and sewer districts get when no one has filed or when there are no more people who have filed than there are positions open ... then we don’t have to pay for it,” Harvey said.
Harvey was told that Brown will attempt to attach an amendment regarding elections for emergency service boards to another bill that is likely to be passed this legislative session. Harvey heard a similar offer from Smith’s office.
While some PCESB members questioned whether the PCESB could hold its elections at another time besides April, Bennett told The Rolla Daily News it would not be beneficial for the PCESB to move its election to August or November because elections are not held in those months every year.
“Also, if they held it in August or November, then they’d be paying a much higher proportional share and would split half the costs with the county, so it’d be much higher than it is in April,” Bennett said.
In other business or discussion
Also at the March 14 meeting, PCESB Chair Paul Rueff told the board that the Archonix records management system and computer-aided dispatch software is expected to go live April 22. Training on the new system will begin around March 27.
PCESB member Carl Collet informed board members that the March meeting would be his last. Collet’s term is up in April and he decided not to run for election. While the current board will still have a meeting Thursday, April 11, Collet said he would not be able to attend then.
Collet said he enjoyed working with the PCESB.
The board recognized Communications Chief Paula Volkmer who was named Director of the Year for 2012 by Missouri APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials). Volkmer has been with the department since March 1, 1982, when she started as a telecommunicator.
Board members also recognized Scott Olds, who retired last week after 29 years of dispatching in Phelps County. Olds was a dispatcher with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department prior to joining the Rolla Police Department in 1994.