Amendments to how special events are handled in the city of Branson has passed its final reading.
The new municipal code amendments in Chapter 94, pertaining to special events, in Articles I and IV include:
–A modification to the special event definition to include events that are occurring on private property that impact public property and services.
–Implementation of three special event levels to better establish unique application requirements, review criteria and application fees based on the event’s impact.
The new three level special event tiers include the following:
Tier one is a $140 fee and has the following components: estimated daily attendance of 1-1,000 people, has minor impacts to the surrounding areas, is held within an existing venue, has minor transportation needs, has no need for public safety staffing beyond normal operations and the application must be submitted 15 days prior to the event.
Tier two is a $280 fee and has the following components: lasts multiple days with an estimated attendance of 1,001 to 5,000 people, has moderate impacts to the surrounding areas, is held within an existing venue, has moderate transportation needs and short-term road closures, may require more public safety staffing than normal operations and the application must be submitted 30 days prior to the event.
Tier three is a $560 fee and has the following components: lasts multiple consecutive days with an estimated attendance over 5,000 people, creates significant impacts to the surrounding area, it cannot be held within an existing venue, requires significant transportation needs with long term closures, requires public safety staffing beyond normal operations and the application must be submitted 90 days prior to the event.
Before this amendment, special events were charged a $111 fee to help cover the wages of city staff needed for the special event.
This bill passed with five ‘yes’ votes and one ‘no’ vote by Alderman Larry Milton.
“I think when we discussed this at the last meeting, what I believe I learned was it’s really unfair for department heads, our directors, to come up with an annual budget and then have unknown events throughout the year, and I’ll use Chief Matthews as a good example,” said Milton.
“Chief Matthews has a budget, he’s allocated so many resources, the city has numerous events, it’s not in Chief Matthew’s budget, so in this example, the police department would have additional expenses that were not approved in this budget. So instead of punishing his budget with these unknown expenses and instead of charging the event organizer the additional charges to the city or instead of increasing event fees, I’d like to think there would be some internal process that we can do within the city to cover those expenses and in this example especially when we’re bringing in a tremendous amount of additional revenue.”
Milton then proposed another amendment to do away with the new fee for each event tier and return it to the original fee of $111. This amendment died for a lack of a second.
A third proposed amendment by the Special Event Team was removed by the aldermen at its first reading, which would have given the city the ability to be reimbursed for resources used to help assist with special events.
According to the staff report provided by the city of Branson, before 2010 the city required special events to reimburse the city for their expenses. Over the last five years, approximately $25,000 has been paid by the city to help with special events with no reimbursement.
According to the report, the Special Event Team was formed in September 2019 by the Assistant City Administrator, John Manning, “to improve overall situational awareness of potential special events and other activities within the region.”
The team consisted of 15 representatives from various city departments, organizations and interests. According to the report, the team met on nine separate occasions to “discuss successes and to identify opportunities for improvement within the special event process.” They also “reviewed the city’s role in the management, leadership and oversight of unique events which may have an impact on the community.”
Visit bransonmo.gov for more information.