The Ole Seagull

Would Branson board be all wet to consider water park TIF prior to the election?

Posted in Branson,General,Government,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the March 25th, 2018

Could be.

Ask ten people at random why a government board would schedule a meeting for 6:30 pm on a Friday and an Ole Seagull would just have to guess that seven out of the ten would say, “Because they didn’t want anyone to attend.” In the case of the sparsely attended January 5th meeting of the Branson Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission (Commission), held at 6:00 PM on a Friday evening however, it was to make two announcements.

The first was that this was the first and last Commission meeting that would be held at 6 PM on Friday. The second was that the Public Hearing on the TIF that was supposed to be held that night would be rescheduled because the original notice of the hearing failed to meet the 45-day prior notice requirement.

The Commission was discussing when they could reschedule a meeting where most of them could get together that was more than 45 days in the future. They had worked toward the end of March or early April. There was no discussion about having to have it done by any particular time for any reason; just a date when they could all attend.

All of a sudden, a male voice, seemingly coming from under the commissioners, bursts forth, saying words to the effect, “Our intention is to have the TIF plan considered by the Board of Aldermen prior to the upcoming election so the same elected officials who have been working on it through the process will be the ones making the decision.”

As the Commissioners responded, immediately discussing an earlier date, without even discussing the logic of what the voice said, the Ole Seagull became concerned. Although he did not know who the voice belonged to, he knew it wasn’t the voice of God because it didn’t appear to come from “On High.”

In all his 76 years, the Ole Seagull, to the best of his recollection, has never spoken out of order at a meeting, but there was no opportunity for anyone in the audience to say anything while this voice could seemingly say whatever it wanted. Hungry, tired, and concerned, the Ole Seagull shouted out, “Who is that guy?” The audience was then informed that it was the voice of Joe Lauber, the Commission’s attorney.

This caused the Ole Seagull considerable consternation. The Commission was discussing a date to hold a meeting that had nothing to do with a legal issue and had not asked for a legal opinion prior to Lauber breaking in. An Ole Seagull could not possibly know who the “Our” is that he referred to, but he sure hopes it wasn’t the Commission. How could they possibly have a date in mind to refer it to the Board of Aldermen for a vote until the public hearing had been held and they had time to review it and make a recommendation? Is it to be presumed that something of this nature, involving millions of taxpayer dollars and a myriad of details, will be resolved in one meeting of the TIF Commission? An Ole Seagull could not possibly know, but the “done deal” perception of the statement does cause him some concern.

More important to an Ole Seagull, is the insanity of the logic of rushing to a decision prior to the April City election. Why? So that the same elected officials who have been working on it through the process will be the ones making the decision.

Really! Especially in view of the Downtown and Highway 76 fiascos, wouldn’t it make more sense to slow the process down until after the election. Then bring the newly elected aldermen up to speed and let them make the decision on a matter that they will have to administer and deal with throughout their terms?

“But Seagull, we’ve got to rush!” “Why? Didn’t the same developer try to get a TIF a few years back for an ‘aquarium’ centered development on basically the same land? Does the developer have a definite commitment for financing subject to certain conditions? Who will the Operator of the project be? Will the city of Branson have to pledge tax resources in order for the developer to get financing?”Would Branson board be all wet to consider water park TIF prior to the election?Would Branson board be all wet to consider water park TIF prior to the election?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.