A foot of the brakes of Branson's economy and the other on the pedal for political traditionalists marked 2008 for Branson's city government.
Contrary to regurgitated press releases by a mostly non-present (never stopped them from publishing stories) regional press, Branson's new alcohol ordinance that moved forward had nothing to do with derailing teenage drinking, but rather a push to thwart a burgeoning nightlife industry that embraced new markets malaligned with Branson's center strip entertainment venues.
Legal consultants and Branson Alderman focused on increasing liability on business owners for misconduct related to abuse of alcohol distribution practices by employees. In addition, the ordinance allows broad oversight and intrusion to private property in order to enforce the new initiatives.
The ordinance also halts potential growth of a bar district, which could stimulate growth in the Branson Landing's adjoining old town district. Social conservatives find the ordinance a victory as Branson's expansion of tourism into new demographics presented a challenge to the Christian Brand.
The very form of government would also change moving from a body of debate to one of strong central leadership and slashing positions - terminating employees willing to debate the new monolithic structure. The Mayor - City Manager form of government would disapate and a successful power grab by Branson's new leader would assume total control of the city.
The true state of Branson's economy would be buried as it would challenge the premise that launched a new government into power in the first place. Branson Landing, a TIF funded district on the lake would deliver on its promise to stimulate Branson's economy and for 22 months Branson would experience the highest revenue in the city's history - ignoring the national economic downturn.
Branson's new government would continue inquiries into past finances , ironically at an expense of 1 million dollars.
New expenditures promise to appear in 2008 as the transition of power would find millions and promise to damper the effect of 10 years of solid economic growth.
Citizen participation would increase and new groups would form to beautify the city and collaborate with state agencies to provide a better anesthetic. The Downtown Business Owners would continue to organize and collaboration with the Branson Chamber would begin.
The Branson Chamber would move more funding into Internet Development and double the size of web traffic.
Conflicts of Interest would be ignored as well as an ethics proposal which proved too hard and demanding of more integrity than Branson City Leaders would allow.
Political Bribery would ensue and Branson Alderman would throw state law to the side to push an agenda rejected by Branson citizens many years coming.
Branson would announce daily flights and the majority of construction of a new airport would ensue.
The one major development within Branson City limits would remain an eyesore on the strip and a new slate would push for more development on the dying strip.
The full impact of Branson's loose spending practices, attempts to stop the growth of new industry and movement back to the "good ole days" of the 1950's will rear it's head in 2009 as more details, successes and dismal failures elope into the pages of the Branson Missouri Blog.