Branson's Vacation County and Other Charter Options (Part 1)
They describe a system where locals determine a new set of laws by which the state government and by association, state guidelines submit to "Charter" standards. The process involves throwing out current county organization established by the state and a proposal which will go before voters to determine a yes / no answer to forming the new set of laws known which will be known as the Charter. A Charter government would reform government management, number function and pay of elected officials and likely the creation of new taxing categories.
Missouri is hyperlocal. Missouri has 115 counties and a population of 5,987,580. The disparity of population per county makes Missouri residents in close proximity of government leaders with a very low ration of citizens to county officials. In fact, it is so great a differential between other states that it requires some examination.
In contrast to Missouri's 115 counties, California has 58 Counties. If we deduct population of Missouri's four charter Counties which are Jackson, St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson the ratio of County to citizen is 32,763. California by contrast has a 637,270 citizen to county average, a ratio 19 larger than Missouri.
Charters and constitutions are difficult to change once enacted requiring competing factions to create supermajorities to alter. The expense and cooperation required to update a constitution leaves some laws, according to "Home Rule" advocates outdated. Opponents of charter counties worry that government leaders can expand their power into areas they should refrain from interfering with.
Taney County is a first class county. Only first class counties can qualify for charter status leaving 16 possible charters in Missouri .The state changed the requirements for a first class county this year which is determined by total valuation within county borders.Total property valuation moved from $600,000,000 to $900,000,000 in order for a county to be considered first class by the state.
Creation of a charter city for Branson, MO and creation of a charter county have former political bedfellows with opposing political agendas. The two notable forces are those of Taney County Commissioner Ron Houseman and Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley. Both have been quietly supporting the idea for several years. For Houseman, the issue was raised during public meetings. Presley's been quieter on the subject publicly but has spend in excess of $750,000 in political surveys.
The third option is the possibility of a new county. This county could encompass the small geographic area in Stone County that derives its primary income from tourism extending westward. The numbers would allow for Vacation County Missouri to conduct a tourism agenda without outside influence.
-------------------------------Stats and Citations
California Vs Missouri County Government:
Missouri 115 counties 5,987,580
California 58 Counties 36,961,664
Missouri Charter Counties & Population
St. Louis 1.000.510
St. Charles 338,719
Population Per County (Excluding Charter)
California - 637,270
Missouri - 32,763
600,000,000 to 900,000,000
Prepared by: Darin Codon