We’ll be discussing a bit of this and that this week:
$425k for Branson Landing “bauble” & $0.00 for Branson citizens water & sewer rates. – The citizens of Branson were promised that if they approved the city of Branson Tourism Tax it would keep their water and sewer rates low. The state law governing infrastructure expenditures that may be made from the taxes collected under that law authorize the expenditure of those tax funds for the operation of infrastructure such as sewer and water plants.
Instead what happens? A few years ago, the board of aldermen tells the citizens the deals off and that their sewer and water rates have to go up because the infrastructure account can’t afford it. Yet the board approves the expenditure of $425k being taken from that same fund each year to pay for a little “bauble” at Branson Landing that the budget calls the “Branson Landing Fountain & Grounds.”
Interesting, Branson’s citizens and businesses were told they had to have a 25 percent sewer and water rate increase because the infrastructure account couldn’t afford to subsidize the rates any more. Yet the aldermen vote to authorize $425k for the Branson Landing bauble from the same fund. There’s about as much chance that the sewer and water increases are going to stop at 25 percent as there is that the city of Branson will actually get to keep and use the sales taxes it collects from Branson Landing for the next 10-15 years.
Who Should be texting while driving? Commonsense says, “No one.” Although “nothing can be made fool proof because fools are so ingenious,” the Missouri Legislature could have passed a law prohibiting texting while driving by everyone. However, in their infinite wisdom, they just passed a law prohibiting those under 21 from texting while driving. What’s the difference if there is a head on collision between a school bus and a car being driven at 65 miles per hour by an 18 year old who crossed the center line because they were distracted while texting and the same thing happening with an 85 year old driving the car and texting?
Why would Missouri’s governor endanger Missouri’s “tourism money tree?” The Ole Seagull has been told that the actual figures of the Missouri Department of Tourism indicate that for every dollar Missouri spends on tourism marketing the state gets $40 plus in revenue in return. Believing the source accurate, the Ole Seagull must then ask, “Why would Missouri’s Governor reduce the Tourism Budget from $23 million to $16 million?” His prayer is that the reduction is in areas other than marketing and, particularly, the co-op marketing program that helps market the Branson area.
When will Kimberling City pay its own way? The citizens of the Branson Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District voted for and pay a one percent retail sales tax for tourism marketing on most of the retail items they buy. The citizens in Kimberling City and the vast majority of Stone County voted against a marketing tax and pay no marketing tax on most of the retail items they buy. Yet, ihundreds of thousands of dollars in money paid by Branson tax payers is channeled through to the Kimberling City Chamber of Commerce for their use via an agreement between the Branson CVB and the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce. With Branson giving Kimberling City marketing money where is the incentive for them to take action to support themselves? Isn’t it time the Kimberling City area supports its own marketing?