“Glory be another miracle!” Given the political pressure of the community and in spite of months of study, work and preparation, City staff has gone back into the allegedly “bare bones budget” they originally submitted and found a way to save about $295,000. Now, dear citizen, don’t get your hopes up thinking that money might be used to subsidize your water or sewer rates, buy needed equipment for the city or pay for any of the other operational aspects of the city etc.
Unless an Ole Seagull misses his guess, any of it that is spent will be paid as part of a potential $60 million “Branson Airport, LLC Pay for Performance Agreement (PfP)” whereby the city pays $8.24 for each of the majority of passengers disembarking at the Branson Airport. For what it matters, in an Ole Seagull’s opinion, that’s the way it should be.
There has been an ongoing public process since at least January of this year and, to the best of his knowledge, the only one who has spoken out publically against the agreement, both in his columns and personally in front of the board, is the Ole Seagull. At the boards November 9 meeting “everyone from the Branson’s burrito/pizza man to the President of the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the theatre and lodging associations and the Branson Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District (TCED) spoke” in support of the PfP.
“But Seagull, surely you don’t believe that what is being done is the right course of action, do you?” “It’s all about the process, it makes not one iota of difference what an Ole Seagull believes at this point because the process leading up to the decision was fair, public, and everyone had a opportunity for input. The result of that process “is what it is”. The Ole Seagull’s beloved wife, Lois, once said, “Honey if you are the only one in the world that is sane that make you the crazy one.” Using that logic, in the case of the PfP, the Ole Seagull has to be the “crazy one.”
In an earlier column the Ole Seagull described his reaction the first time he saw the Branson Airport, LLC Pay for Performance Agreement (PfP). He said that “He was amazed at how one sided it was even considering the city leadership that authorized it. Basically, the residents of the city of Branson are obligated, in accordance with the contract, to pay the airport up to $2 million per year for the next 30 years without the airport doing anything other than run an airport. To an Ole Seagull the contract, more a gift from the city of Branson to the airport developers, is the most “unconscionable” contract he has ever seen.”
The column went on to say, “The city has spent over $67,000 for legal reviews and actions [Now rumored to be in excess of $100K] involving the contract and, if published reports on those reviews are accurate there are legal problems and issues with the contract. Indeed, the city’s staff has recommended that no payments be made under the original contract until it is amended. The net result of that exercise was the modification of the PfP
At the July 13, 2010 meeting of the Branson Board of Aldermen it approved four modification to the Branson Airport, LLC Pay for Performance Agreement (PfP) that are pertinent to this column. In order to avoid “constitutional challenges,” they changed the entity they were originally to make the payment to from, the Branson Airport, LLC to the Branson Airport Transportation Development District (TDD). They also required any payments made to be applied to the bonded indebtedness of the TDD, changed the payment cycle and required the Airport to submit data which could be used by the city to establish how much it had to pay and could be used for auditing purposes.
By that simple action, in the opinion of an Ole Seagull, the current board chose to taint themselves with the stench from the original PfP. Instead of calling the PfP the one-sided unconscionable and, the Ole Seagull believes, “illegal” agreement it was, and using that opportunity to negotiate a fairer deal for the city, its citizens and businesses the board voted to “launder” the payments through another entity, not a party to the contract, in an attempt to make something they had been advised could be “unconstitutional,” “constitutional” and, in doing so, appears to have created the appearance of ratifying the contract. In his opinion, the board’s action has taken what should have been a pretty decent legal case and turned it into a “Cra..,whoops forgot it was Thanksgiving, ‘Turkey Shoot.'”
What’s all of this mean? Go back to paragraph 1and read through paragraph 4.