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Category Archives: economic development

The defunct HOA problem continues in Missouri, legislation needed urgently


Homeowner associations (HOAs) are given responsibility by recorded subdivision and condominium documents for maintaining, insuring and operating private communities’ common properties, such as streets, drinking water systems, sewer collection and treatment systems, and recreation facilities.

With many developers having abandoned projects before the HOA is operated by residents, the residents and other lot or unit owners (such as lenders that have foreclosed) are often faced with HOAs that cannot properly Read the rest of this entry

Whose oil and gas is it?

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The constantly dispiriting news about the uncontrolled oil and gas well 50 miles off Louisiana generally doesn’t address the financial loss resulting from the wasted oil and gas. This brings up the question of who owns the oil and gas that is escaping.

While BP is losing in every possible way, including financially, the loss of income from the wasted oil and gas extends to the United States Treasury, the coffers of states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and two federally-administered funds, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund. This publication of the Minerals Management Service gives an overview of the process of oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.

In short, the oil and gas underlying the Outer Continental Shelf belongs to the people of the United States. The Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service acts as the trustee for the people of the United States in managing this resource.

Branson Commerce Park opens new possibilities for Branson

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With its infrastructure complete, the streets, water and sewer systems of Branson Commerce Park were turned over to the City of Branson today. This 200-acre development on the north side of Branson is designed for commercial, light-industrial and residential development. In the photo, owner’s representative Phil Lopez and Branson mayor Raeanne Presley prepare to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

The original developer of Branson Commerce Park took advantage of Missouri’s Community Improvement District (CID) statutes to finance the installation of streets and water, sewer and underground telecommunication lines. Rather than install the infrastructure in phases, with years of construction traffic, the digging and disruption is over, except for what takes place on each lot. The CID program as used here does not involve the use of any taxpayer outlays or liability. However, a portion of the cost of installation of the infrastructure is allocated to each lot annually, collected with property taxes and remitted by Taney County to the trustee for the bondholders. The bondholders, through the purchase of the CID’s bonds, provided the construction money.

The Branson area is a popular destination for vacations and retirement, with not many private sector jobs outside these industries. Branson Commerce Park provides an ideal location for enterprises that support Branson’s extensive medical facilities and its many resorts, hotels and restaurants.

But there’s more. Because of its telecommunications infrastructure, Branson Commerce Park is a practical location for businesses that can be wherever there’s a good electronic link to the world. Entrepreneurs and employees who are attracted to the Ozarks may appreciate Branson Commerce Park’s proximity and easy access to residential neighborhoods, shopping, medical facilities, K-12 schools, and Branson’s RecPlex.

Stimulus or business as usual?


It’s hard to argue with a new bridge.

The view of the existing bridge between Branson and Hollister is now a historical relic. A new bridge is being constructed now, as you can see below. Once the new bridge is completed, the old bridge (built in 1931) will be closed for major repairs before reopening in a couple of years.

The $7.4 million new bridge project is being paid for largely by so-called stimulus funding, appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The rehabilitation of the old bridge is is financed from an $4.8 million earmark arranged by Read the rest of this entry

City of Sullivan must charge everyone the same tap fee


This post has been removed because the Missouri Supreme Court’s opinion in City of Sullivan v. Sites overruled the Court of Appeals’ opinion in  City of Sullivan v. Sites and affirmed the trial court’s decision upholding different tap fees for different parts of town.

Missouri law in federal court: how does it work?


Federal courts apply state law, but not state procedural rules. The long but clearly written opinion by the U. S. Court of Appeals in Cole v. Homier Distributing  Company provides good examples of how federal courts apply state law, but use federal procedural rules to do so. Read the rest of this entry

Branson lakefront deal goes from good to bad. Not what you’re thinking, though.


You know the story. The City of Branson gives a great deal to a private business to create an attraction on the Taneycomo lakefront. A few years later, the City doesn’t think the deal is working well for the City. The political winds have changed. Now there’s a lawsuit. Here’s how it went down, more than a half-century ago.

Jim Owen–not to be confused with the singer–played a major role in putting Branson on the tourism map. A consummate promoter of float fishing on the James and White rivers and tourism and commerce in the Branson area, he was unstoppable. Born in Webster County, Missouri (east of Springfield), he came to Branson in 1933, already experienced with public relations.

Soon Jim had built a movie theatre and started a float fishing business that got national attention and was also a banker and farmer. Some fine person posted this promotional silent film of one of his trips (11 minutes long) Read the rest of this entry

Why get a lawyer to help you sell a business?


In this interview for the New York Times’ online “You’re the Boss” feature, I give some of the reasons. Here’s the link: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/how-a-lawyer-can-help-you-sell-your-business/

Bentonville business broker Barbara Taylor interviewed me a couple of weeks ago.

Barbara is one of a dozen or so business people whose blogs appear in the Small Business Section of the online version of the New York Times. Jack Stack, of Springfield, Missouri, is the other Ozarks representative on the Times’ blogging roster.

Business broker Barbara Taylor speaks out


Barbara Taylor and her husband Chris are the founders of Synergy Business Services, a business brokerage company.  She’s a regular blogger on “You’re the Boss,” a feature of the New York Times’s Small Business section, which is where I discovered her. Then I learned that she lives and works in Northwest Arkansas.

I posed several questions to her:

1.  At what stage-if at all–should you ask for a lawyer’s assistance in purchasing a business?

I see some clients – most of whom are sellers – get an attorney involved as soon as an offer to purchase is presented by a buyer, which is typically done in the form of a non-binding Letter of Intent or Term Sheet. However, I’d say it becomes mandatory to get attorneys involved as soon the LOI has been signed and both parties have moved into the Due Diligence phase of a deal.

More often than not it’s the buyer’s attorney who will be drafting the Definitive Agreement (either an Asset or Stock Purchase Agreement, depending on the situation). As a buyer, you will more than likely want your attorney to help you draft an LOI to present to the seller. Once an offer is accepted, ask your attorney to start drafting the Definitive Agreement right away.

If you’re a a seller, I recommend that you send the first draft of the Definitive Agreement to your attorney immediately, and keep him or her involved throughout the remainder of the ownership transfer process (from Due Diligence through Closing). In my opinion, no one should buy or sell a business without counsel from a qualified attorney and a CPA.

2.   How can you tell if a lawyer has the right temperament and skills to be helpful in a business transaction? Read the rest of this entry

Branson Landing land titles: how soon we forget how it was just 10 years ago!


Pictures help to tell the story that lies underneath the disputed land titles at the north end of Branson Landing. You can click on these images to enlarge them. Here’s the 1913 plat of Park Addition to the City of Branson.

The southwest corner of the Belk building sits about where Sycamore Street joins what has been called St. Limas Street and Boxcar Willie Drive, now Branson Landing Boulevard. The platted lots in Block 4 of Park Addition were the location of resorts until construction of Branson Landing began. Mang Park, with a baseball diamond and swimming pool, occupied Read the rest of this entry

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