The city of Branson is set to host a special meeting to discuss a plan to improve sports infrastructure in the area.

Ty Lewis, a representative of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB’s Sports Funding and Advisory Task Force, presented the proposal to the board.

“The task force would like to discuss the recommended plans presented on the 25th to include all funding options,” Lewis said. 

“The plan was a fulfillment of a promise made over a year ago to provide the city with a plan based on identifying sporting facility and parks needs in the community that have been long standing.”

During the meeting on the 25th, a representative of the task force presented a proposal for increasing the food and beverage tax by half a cent to one cent total. Later, city attorney Chris Lebeck said the city’s food and beverage tax could not be used for the purposes described in the proposal.

The city provided an explanation using the revised statues of Missouri. 

“The Municipal Tourism Tax, §94.800 – §94.825, RSMo. provides for a tourism tax on motels and hotels, private tourist attractions, and restaurant and intoxicating liquors charges if approved by the voters. The tourism tax can only be used for two purposes. First, twenty-five percent (25%) of the taxes collected ‘shall be used, upon appropriation by the municipality, for tourism marketing and promotional purposes.’ §94.815.4, RSMo. (1997).,” the statement from the city reads. 

“Second and most importantly, seventy-five percent (75%) of the taxes collected shall be used ‘upon appropriation by the municipality, solely for the purpose of constructing and maintaining infrastructure improvements, to include sidewalks, streets, highways, roads, waterworks, wastewater including distribution and collection systems and solid waste disposal facilities, the costs of which may be funded by issuing bonds.’ §94.815.3, RSMo. (1997). (Emphasis added). 

The legislature made it clear in the wording of this statute that infrastructure improvements are ‘streets, highways, roads, waterworks, wastewater including distribution and collection systems and solid waste disposal facilities’ by the use of the phrase ‘to include’ in the construction of the statute.”

Lewis said a funding vehicle for the plan would be part of the discussion moving forward.

“We all have the same objectives to move the community plan forward,” Lewis said. “... There’s a motivated group of community members and businesses who will work with supporting a funding vehicle to address the sporting needs.” 

“I would recommend we do this,” Alderman Rick Castillon said. “We listened for four and a half hours and the aldermen didn’t get a chance to speak on behalf of this, so I think it needs to be open to us, see what kind of ideas they’ve come up with and let them speak about it.”

“This is such a worthy cause,” Alderman Larry Milton added. ”The funding is something we need to roll our sleeves up on, but I do believe the community would be supportive.”

According to City Clerk Lisa Westfall, the city will release a public notice when a time for the meeting is set.

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