Australians did not get $5 million and other Branson Landing Info

On Jan. 2, as part of ongoing research on the Branson Landing Project and Convention Center, the Ole Seagull sent a list of four questions to City Administrator Terry Dody. On Jan. 10 Dody’s response was received. The questions and their responses, without comment, are set forth below.

Question 1: Including the $5 million to the Australians, all legal, administration, land acquisition, consulting construction, lobbying, interest costs and any other cost directly related to the Branson Landing Project and
Convention Center, how much has the city of Branson either spent or
obligated itself for as of November 30, 2004?

Response: It has been explained many times that the Australians were never paid $5 million. The Australians received $1.9 million for fees and expenses resulting from work they performed for the City at the City’s request.

Additionally, when negotiations broke down with the Jacobsen Group, the Board of Aldermen elected to go ahead and purchase the lakefront property, even if nothing was ever going to be developed there.Consequently, the Board of Aldermen made a decision to expend $24,177,839 to purchase the land, demolish the buildings and site prep the ground knowing that they might not move forward with any development of the land.They felt it was in Branson’s best interest to own the lakefront into the future – even if it remained only as a park.

The above is important because the cost to purchase and site prep the original land can arguably be excluded from the total cost of the current Branson Landing project.

However, including the purchase and site prep of the original land, the total spent by the City as of November 30, 2004, is $52,527,101.This number includes everything: land, financing costs, permits, feasibility studies, legal fees, professional services, demolition, capitalized interest, lobbying, etc., etc., etc.

Question 2: Of that amount how much is the city of Branson and its citizens not legally obligated to pay?

Response: The city of Branson and its citizens are not legally obligated to pay any of the above stated amount.

The following is the language from the Series 2003A and 2004A bond indentures.

“The Series 2003A and 2004A bonds are not an indebtedness of the State of Missouri, the City nor any other political subdivision thereof within the meaning of any provision of the constitution or laws of the State of Missouri. The Bonds shall not constitute and indebtedness within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory debt limitation or restriction and are not payable in any manner by taxation.The issuance of the bonds shall not obligate the State, the City nor any other political subdivision to levy any form of taxation therefore or to make any appropriation for their payment in any year subsequent to a year in which the Financing Agreement is in effect.”

Question 3: What is the distance from the retaining wall to the lakeside edge of the “Board walk?” What I am trying to determine is exactly how wide the “boardwalk” will be?

Response: The distance from the retaining wall to the lakeside edge of the boardwalk averages 50′ through the length of the project. At one point the closest distance is 30′ and the greatest is 120′. The boardwalk is generally 12′ wide with occasional widening to 16′.

Question 4: Am I correct in my belief that for a substantial portion of the Board Walk, there will be, in one form or another, a cement retaining wall rising to heights of 10 feet or more, separating those on the “Boardwalk” from the businesses located above?

Response: The concrete retaining wall is generally 10′ in height and will be faced (on the lake side) with material similar to what will be on the exterior of the retail buildings which will include awnings and other additions that will make the wall blend with the other exterior portions of the buildings. Stairs and elevators will be amply provided for access to and from the boardwalk and retail.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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