On April 7, Taney County voters will have an opportunity to vote on whether or not to authorize up to a quarter of a cent additional retail sales tax to build a road, known as the East West Corridor (EWC). According to the ballot language the ECW will run from near the intersection of East Highway 76 and J Highway to U.S Highway 65 at the Hollister interchange just south of Branson. One could get the impression that if the voters approve the tax that the whole amount would go towards financing the EWC and that the EWC will provide a “straight” connection with the interchange, but, in terms of practical reality, is that the case?
In following all the news reports on the EWC the Ole Seagull has not noticed any substantive comment on the effect of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) on the financing of the EWC. In Branson alone won’t the TIF will eat up one half of the taxes collected at Branson Landing and Branson Hills, including Wal-Mart, Target etc?
If that is the case, only $.50 of every dollar collected at either Branson Landing or Branson Hills will go to pay for the EWC and the other $.50 of it will go to pay off Branson’s TIFs. The Ole Seagull hasn’t read anything about the potential impact of Hollister’s TIF’s on the project. Does that mean there isn’t any?
Doesn’t the “straight line” of the EWC kind of turn into a “zig zag” at its eastern end at the intersection of Birch? Won’t there be some sort of traffic control signal put in at that point? Isn’t there a little zig to another traffic signal at Industrial and the U.S. Highway 65 and a “zag” to another traffic signal actually controlling entry and exiting from U.S. Highway 65? Has any recognized government study been conducted on how the “zigzag” could impact traffic flow?
Is there any recognized government study establishing the need for the EWC that takes into consideration the improved levels of service for Highway 76 traffic that will result when the new Lake Taneycomo Bridge project is completed? Does Taney County have a prioritized list of infrastructure projects, transportation, bridges, water, sewer etc.? If so where is the EWC on that list? Is it a “need” or a “want?”
The last two questions are perhaps the most important and it is addressed to each of the Taney County Commissioners personally and individually, “In view of the current economic situation and its potential impact on the revenues of Taney County, do you believe that the building of the EWC, at this time, is the best use of limited tax payer resources?” The second is, “If the voters vote for the EWC will you guarantee that no Taney County real property taxes will be assessed against Taney County residents until the EWC is paid off?