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Tag Archives: economic development

Ozarks economic outlook for 2010

As with any identifiable region, the Ozarks’ economy is a partly a product of adjacent economies interacting with internal and external forces. A survey of the metro areas that ring the Ozarks may give us a hint about what to expect for the future. The economic engines within the Ozarks also deserve a look. This long essay will yield the conclusion that 2009 will be a year of Read the rest of this entry


Table Rock Lake and the cost of economic activity

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Kathleen O’Dell’s article about the economic impact of Table Rock Lake in today’s Springfield News-Leader, entitled “Table Rock Dam Gives Much Back to Area,” covers a lot of ground in describing the various kinds of economic activities that are related to the construction and continued existence of Table Rock Lake.

In an economic sense, is the Table Rock Lake area fit (efficient and nimble) or obese (expensive to maintain and subject to falls)? As pointed out below, the two counties most affected by Table Rock Lake have experienced the area’s lowest growth in Read the rest of this entry

Film production injects dollars into Ozarks

The filming of Daniel Woodrell‘s novel “Winter’s Bone” at various locations in the Forsyth area will conclude next week. The story of the novel and movie concerns an Ozarks family affected by meth and violence. The silver lining to this depiction is that the process of making a movie puts cash from elsewhere into the local economy. This time of year, especially, that seems to be a good thing, since local unemployment is in double digits.

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea at Cantina Laredo

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea

I was invited to lunch yesterday by Jerry Jones, director of the Missouri Film Commission, who was making a visit to the set. I dined at Cantina Laredo with Jerry, his wife Pam (who is my friend from college days), Branson mayor Raeanne Presley, Steve Olson of Springfield, Bill Lennon of Branson, and Andrea Sporcic, assistant director of the Film Commission.

When Mayor Presley was on the Missouri Tourism Commission, she became acquainted with the work of the Missouri Film Commission, whose effectiveness in recruiting film productions to Missouri depends on Missouri’s film tax credit program, which provides an incentive for filmmakers to come to Missouri in the form of state tax credits for those film productions that spend a substantial amount of money in the state.

The production company has been lodged at Branson Landing, with a production office at the Branson Landing Convention Center. The company has hired extras locally and at least one local has a speaking part. Read the rest of this entry

Taney County will seek stimulus money

Ken Kline, chair of the Taney County (Missouri) Industrial Development Authority (IDA), persuaded the Taney County Commission yesterday to fund an Office of Economic Development, so that Taney County will have people actively pursuing money dedicated to rural projects in the stimulus package pushed through Congress by the Obama Administration.

Ken’s presentation was well-organized, with detailed descriptions of the duties of the persons that he wanted the county to hire. The request suggested that these county employees report to the IDA, which consists of unpaid appointees.

I spoke in support of Ken’s proposal and pointed out that many of the functions of the proposed Office of Economic Development were within the statutory duties of the county’s planning commission, but were not currently being performed.

Sarah Klinefelter, chair of the planning commission, agreed that the planning commission had been primarily responding to requests for zoning permits, rather than performing its planning function. New county commissioner Jim Strafuss told me after the meeting that the county commission had issued an RFP for a comprehensive plan.

I  hope that rural counties in the Ozarks will take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade roads and bridges, water and sewer facilities, school buildings, and parks and to establish technology facilities. Otherwise, we’ll be faced with doing our part to pay for improvements made elsewhere, putting us even further behind.

Eureka School District loses TIF battle

School districts are the natural enemies of tax-increment financing projects (TIFs). The TIF designation of a redevelopment area limits a school district’s share of the increases in property taxes that occur in that redevelopment area, diverting what would have been the school district’s share of property taxes to paying for a portion of the developer’s cost of infrastructure.

On February 24, 2009, Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals issued its opinion Read the rest of this entry

Is tourism impoverishing?

Many community leaders are jealous of the sales tax revenue and economic activity generated by tourism. They wish that their own communities had some of what Branson and other tourist towns have (the municipal revenue, the perceived business opportunities, and options for shopping, dining, entertainment and outdoor activities), but not the other stuff (the seasonal economy, the high percentage of residents who move in and move out, the number of business failures, the constant need to expand schools, the high sales taxes, the traffic snarls, the disorder of constant construction projects, etc.). Read the rest of this entry

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