FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Summary of March 28, 2017 Meeting of Branson Board of Aldermen
Approved Board of Aldermen Minutes:
March 9, 2017 Study Session
March 14, 2017 Regular Meeting
Acknowledge Receipt of Minutes:
Planning Commission meeting of January 3, 2017
CONSENTS / FINAL READINGS: The Board of Aldermen approved the final readings of the following:
Bill #5139 approving payment by the City of Branson to Mr. Olof Pierson as full restitution for property damage caused by water intrusion into property he owns at 112 E. Atlantic Street.
Bill #5140 approving the updated bylaws for Midwest Public Risk and the City’s participation with other political subdivisions within the State of Missouri for Property, Liability, and Workers’ Compensation Coverages.
Bill #5141 to execute a Signing Agreement with The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission pertaining to new Welcome to Branson Signage.
Bill #5142 accepting the proposal of Mercer-Zimmerman, Inc. for Historic Downtown Branson Streetscape street lights and street signage.
Bill #5143 approving a contract with Salvation Army to provide temporary emergency housing and services for the needy.
Bill #5144 amending Chapter 2, Section 2-361 and Chapter 90, Section 90-36 of the Branson Municipal Code pertaining to the provision of municipal and connections of customers at properties located outside of city limits.
Bill #5145 amending the City of Branson’s adopted 2016 Budget, adjusting monies for various funds.
REGULAR AGENDA – FIRST READINGS and PUBLIC HEARINGS: The Board of Aldermen approved first readings of the following items:
Tax Increment Refunding Revenue Bonds for Branson Shoppes Redevelopment – Bill #5032: This ordinance was originally scheduled for second reading on November 8, 2016. Because of ongoing discussions with the developer and upheaval in the financial markets, the ordinance was tabled to be brought up for reconsideration on January 24th and again on March 28, 2017. Because of the same issues that were present in November and January, the ordinance is not ready for final passage. Consequently, the Board approved an extension to allow financial market stabilization to deliver an optimal financial position for the City, this time no later than June 27, 2017 with hopes to bring it back sooner. The ordinance will approve refunding of Series 2006A Bonds and Series 2006B Bonds issued by the Branson IDA for the Branson Shoppes project. The refunding is subject only to certain parameters which include a minimum threshold savings of 5.0%, which is higher than the 3.0% minimum recommended by GFOA. The ordinance also approves the financing based on parameters set forth in the ordinance including the aforementioned savings amount, maximum principal amounts and interest rates.
2016 Year-End Marketing Report of the Branson Chamber of Commerce: Branson Chamber of Commerce Director of Digital Marketing Liz Mabe shared the YE2016 Marketing Report of the Branson Chamber of Commerce stating that 2016 saw a record 7.1% increase in visitation, 3.1% increase of City Sales Tax revenues, and a 7.1% increase in Tourism Tax. Room demand growth of 8.7% positioned Branson as the leader ahead of Pigeon Forge and Orlando. The average age of adult visitors is 56 years, and there was an increase in the number of families traveling to Branson of 5%. 26% of visitors searched online for Branson vacation planning and 58.5% of traffic is generated from a mobile device to the ExploreBranson.com website. Digital marketing is up 22.09%. The PR team reported airing on 26 NEXSTAR affiliates with The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Parade. Branson CVB won the North America Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) destination marketing of the year award. Meetings & Conventions brought in 118,000 booked room nights. Sports marketing analysis of visitor spending reflected an average stay of 6.6 nights resulting in over $425K in direct visitor spending, increasing booked room nights over 25%.
City of Branson 2016-Q4 Financial Update: All governmental funds reported $74M in revenues and expenditures at $79.7M. 2016 General fund revenues are up $785,701 more than 2015 and expenditures of $1,323,072 more than 2015 (not representing transfers). Q4-2016 Gross Sales Tax was up 2%, and Tourism Tax up 9.1%. Net General Fund Sales Tax revenues for FY2016 were up 2%, and revenues were up $1M more than 2015. Parks & Recreation Fund showed FY2016 operating revenues increased by $311,569, and expenditures up $294,462 from FY2015, partially due to December flooding. Water & Sewer FY2016 Revenues came in $396,194 more than 2015.
Presentation of Sustainability Council’s 2016 Annual Report: Mona Menezes presented the 2016 City of Branson Sustainability Summary explaining that sustainability is the result of a triple bottom line formula comprised of People + Planet + Prosperity. $46K in energy savings were realized just by changing lightbulbs to LED bulbs at the RecPlex. Total annual savings in general operational expenses totaled $366,384 as a result of sustainability initiatives within City of Branson operations. 417 Magazine published an article highlighting Branson as an example of a sustainable community.
Resolution to Adopt the Trademarked Logo Created for the Branson/Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District: The Board of Aldermen voted to adopt the trademarked logo and its design elements including fonts, color palette and other branding guidelines associated with the new logo, thereby establishing it as the authorized brand identity of the City of Branson to replace all previously associated logos, graphics and icons used in promotional, marketing, signage, and other collateral associated with the City of Branson and its use of an identifying logo. The City has entered into a Trademark License Agreement with the TCED to utilize the logo with an effective date of June 1, 2017 allowing time to transition to the new logo at an estimated cost of $15,000, excluding water tower logos, which will be changed as tanks undergo maintenance and repainting.
Resolution for Notification to Midwest Public Risk: This resolution will serve as notification to Midwest Public Risk allowing the City of Branson to withdraw from one of more pools of Property, Liability or Workers’ Compensation Risk Protection Coverage. With respect to these kinds of expenses, the City currently participates with other political subdivisions of the state of Missouri by pooling resources for property, liability and workers’ compensation programs. These coverages are like insurance, but are rather risk protections coordinated in a not-for-profit manner. Midwest Public Risk (MPR) is the organization that provides the coordination of these programs, and the City has been with MPR for 3 years. By City standards, it is time to review options of current programs available and the review will be performed by Scott Wightman, Area Executive Vice President for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., of St. Louis, Missouri (the City’s property/liability/workers’ compensation broker since 2015). In alignment with the City’s stewardship practices, this proposal allows the City to move forward with a competitive bidding process. This process will evaluate proposed programs and related costs, with recommendations to be made by Arthur Gallagher & Co. to either move to another carrier for services or remain with MPR. In accordance with bylaws, the City must notify MPR of its possible move to another carrier 90 days in advance of withdrawing from one or more programs. Bylaws require this notification to come by a resolution adopted by the governing body of a participating entity and notification deadline is April 1, 2017.
Resolution for Capital Expenditure Reimbursements Related to Highway 76 Project: This resolution declares the intent of the Board of Aldermen to reimburse certain capital expenditures with proceeds of tax-exempt financing obtained for the Highway 76 Project. The resolution establishes the City’s official intent to finance Highway 76 improvements with tax-exempt financing, and to reimburse itself from the proceeds of such a financing to the extent of expenditures already made. This step is meant to preserve options for the City moving forward as consideration is given to different methods for funding the Highway 76 improvements, and does not commit the City to borrow money, but does provide the ability for the City to be reimbursed for future expenditures if necessary. This type of resolution is common when moving forward with a project, and is meant to satisfy certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. The requested $110M is comprised of $80M allocated in the project budget to be brought forth by Jim Martin on April 6, as well as $16M for waterlines and $13M that has already been billed.
State Requirements for Financial Interest Disclosure for Municipal Officials: This item is a routine housekeeping ordinance required by the Missouri Ethics Commission required every two years by September 15th, to maintain the City of Branson’s compliance with the requirement. This aligns with the City of Branson’s Strategic Plan Governance Objective to be responsive, accountable, and inclusive as Branson maintains open, transparent communication and encourages informed participation in local governance.
Pre-Annexation Agreement – 155 Warehouse Dr, Branson: This request is to add sewer service to the property of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nottle described as Lot 8, Branson Warehouse Center, located in Taney County, Missouri. Under the Pre-Annexation Agreement being considered, a future planned office/warehouse will be constructed and be connected to central sewer. Sewer service fees will be charged to the property at the established outside City sewer rate until the property is annexed.
Purchase of Water Usage Data: This is an agreement to purchase water usage data from the Missouri American Water Company, renewing the existing Water Usage Data Agreement with the firm. Missouri American will furnish water usage data to the City from each Missouri American water customer connected to the City sewer system. The City will use the individual customer’s water usage to calculate and charge for City sewer service based on the volume of water used. If approved, the existing agreement will be renewed for the fiscal year of 2017. Missouri American’s existing annual fee of $3000.00 to provide this data will remain the same for the 2017 renewal.
Purchase of Equipment for the Utilities Department: The Board of Aldermen voted to accept the following proposals to purchase equipment for Branson Utilities: 1) Bobcat of Springfield for a new compact excavator (Bill #5150), 2) Globe Trailer Manufacturing, Inc. for a new equipment trailer (Bill #5151), and Summit Truck Group for a new tandem axle dump truck (Bill #5152).
Adoption of 2017 Employee Benefits and Employee Health & Wellness Plan: The Board of Aldermen voted at first reading to adopt the new City of Branson participants’ tier levels and costs for 2017 Medical Insurance, Dental, Life, Vision and Supplemental Insurance Plans, and the 2017 Employee Health and Wellness Plan. The revised Health and Wellness plan was approved by the Human Resources Committee on February 24, 2017. Also for approval in this bill is Section 3 of the 2017 Budget detailing employee costs and respective tiers for insurance. The tier levels and the percentage discounts for employee responsibilities of costs remain the same from 2016. Tier 1 pays 100% of employee only coverage; Tier 2 pays 85% of employee only coverage; and Tier 3 pays 70% of employee only coverage. Employees who opt out of the City’s insurance (Tier 4) receive a stipend of $100 a month in lieu of the insurance benefits. Tier 5 is for the City Administrator and tiers 6 and 7 are for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. These 2017 tier levels for medical insurance premiums were established by employees in 2016. For 2018 medical insurance premiums, employees will achieve various tiers by recording wellness activity points in the CoxHealth wellness web portal from January 1 through September 29, 2017. Although the plan officially runs from January 1, 2017 to September 29, 2017, Employees will be allowed to use activities recorded as far back as October 1, 2016. This will enable the City to “cut off” the Health and Wellness Plan in time to establish each employee’s tier for the open enrollment of 2018 insurance benefits
APPOINTMENTS – The following individuals were appointed to serve on City of Branson committee as indicated by category:
Advisory Park Board: Jamie Whiteis and Candy Sullinger reappointed, term expiring June 2020
Planning Commission: Clark Harris, Michael Pinkley and Dave Woolery reappointed, term expiring April 2021
Tree Board: Cherry Webster reappointed, term expiring April 2020
Board of Appeals: Jeff Michel reappointed, term expiring April 2022
Budget and Finance Committee: Rod Romine and Pamela Yancey reappointed, term expiring April 2018
Capital Improvement Committee: Michael Pinkley reappointed, term expiring April 2018
Human Resources Committee: Donna Glotz and Kevin McConnell reappointed, term expiring April 2018
76 Entertainment CID: Rick Todd submitted his resignation as a Director on the 76 Entertainment CID for his term ending March 2018. The procedure according to CID bylaws to fill his remaining term calls for the Board of Aldermen to nominate Directors “of either elected officials, appointed officials or employees of the City.” Nominations will be made by the Board at the March 28, 2017 meeting and voted on during this same meeting. The Board will vote on the list of nominee(s) and the nominee receiving the most votes will fill the unexpired term of Rick Todd until March 2018. Betsy Seay was nominated by Rick Castillon to fill the remaining Director term of Rick Todd through March 2018; Board voted in favor (5-0) of Betsy Seay to fill the remaining Director term on the 76 Entertainment CID.
ADJOURN INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Closed Executive Session pursuant to 610.021.1 RSMo for litigation and 610.021.3 RSMo for personnel.
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About the City of Branson, Missouri:
Located in Southwest Missouri, the City of Branson is committed to its citizens and to those who visit here, to ensure a safe and environmentally sound community. We will work as a team to maintain and promote the growth of our City, and to provide professional, courteous service to all through fair and open communication. We look to tomorrow, remembering yesterday, dedicated to excellence today.