Branson Alderman and the Mayor held a quorom in Denver Colorado last week. The meeting was preliminary to the upcoming elections where the Mayor and several board members will have to re-gain approval from voters.
The expense of holding the meeting was paid by taxpayers who will shell another $86,000 including over $4,700 on food billed at the expense of Branson's citizens.
The Mayor and Board of Alderman will likely spend over $70 million next Tuesday approving the 2011 budget which includes and $800,000 handout to the Taney County Health Department.
During a meeting informing citizens of increased fees for business transactions with the city, a health department official admitted Mayor Raeanne Presleys wouldn't be able to pass proposed tax increases for the department after unilaterally agreeing to give the entity the $800k check.
The Health Department works close with Skaggs, a private hospital of which Presley serves on the board. The process of unilaterally promising the money raised concerns from both the city administrator and city of Branson's finance director. Concern over the promised funds surfaced after it was discovered the handout was not in the initial draft budget.
During meetings documented on this news site, the Taney County Health Department promised self sufficiency as assets near $4,000,000 were transferred to subsidize integration of the city and Taney County Health Department.
Before the merger was implemented, the Taney County Health Department was financed through a property tax levy. While the levy is intact, the concept of perpetually funding the department was not part of the original plan. In fact, the plan was to eliminate the expense.
Restaurants in Branson will be getting three annual inspections instead of two to raise funds for the city in a separate bill passed last week. The new funds are not being allocated towards paying the bill Presley promised to give prior to board approval.
Since taking office, Presley has spent more funds annually allocated to the Mayor and Board of Alderman than the entire sum of previous administrations since the foundation of the city.
During several open meetings we requested the documents detailing $4,000,000 allocated directly to the Mayor and Board of Alderman in 2008. The city has continued to deny access to the requested files in contradiction to the Sunshine Law which requires specific means of ensuring corruption can be curtailed through public review.