Branson and the Politics of Annexation
The image above details the City of Branson's Annexation History (click to enlarge view).
If there’s a lesson in Branson's most recent annexation strategy it’s such – If you see a soccer mom in a dark political alley….run.
For those of you who’ve been out of the country for the last month – let me sum up the situation. Pam Dapprich owner of the Branson Sports Club received a letter from the City of Branson asking her to cease and desist the using the “Branson” name – unless she supported incorporating into the City. Branson backed off their position and after some discussion pursued a “kinder gentler” approach to the name issue by sending out letters and granting a license to business’s that want to use the Branson name. The idea is that a precedent is set in case the City of Branson chooses to challenge an unsavory business from using the Branson name at some point in the future.
For some time, the City of Branson has been trying to create boundaries that resemble a polygon. A solid shape helps the City of Branson in the areas of planning, management and distribution of services, Pockets and caveats outside of a solid boundary are problematic for urban planners. Do you stop a road or other services in a small gap between city property? In some cases preventing services could be more expensive than providing them for free. An answer may be to incorporate these pockets - But, there’s a major problem here; incorporating a piece of Taney County Property into the city of Branson doesn’t necessarily suit the needs of the area being incorporated. Citizens, who live with very minimal government control have to be convinced substantially higher taxes, more stringent building codes and a variety of bureaucratic intervention will better serve the citizens needs. This is a hard sell – maybe impossible as sizeable recent tax increases and the City of Branson’s reputation for hard-line administrative policies have led voter’s in unincorporated area’s to reject the notion that joining Branson will somehow better there lives. Add a couple hundred million dollars in debt from TIF’s (Tax Increment Financing), much of it invested in infrastructure and you can see the stage being set for public and private interests to start showing their irritation.
Enter the Soccer Mom….
Though the city isn’t currently taking any action against the Branson Sports Club the City of Branson is continuing to take media hits from far outside the area.
After appearing and voicing opinions at several city counsel meetings Pam Dapprich became an activist openly voicing her disgust for the way Branson,City affiliates and one particular news organization conduct business. Her voice has been heard far beyond the reaches of the community. Suggesting the negative publicity is potentially hurting the Branson tourism Market...Pam replied, “That’s the only thing they understand.”
Prepared by: Darin Codon