Branson Airport seeks $400,000 in marketing funds from county

The following article was pubished in theBranson Daily Independent on Oct. 31 and is reprinted with its permission.

Branson Airport Terminal shot from
across ramp. To the right is taxiway
from runway which is completed.
Branson Airport is schedule to open for
passenger serviec in 2009.

Branson Airport, scheduled to open for commercial service next May, is billed as the nation’s first private airport designed for commercial jetliner service built totally with private funding. Branson Airport LLC (BA), the owners of Branson Airport, have asked Taney County for over $400,000 to assist in marketing Branson along the routes its carrier or carriers will be flying.

Jeff Bourk Executive Director, BA made a presentation and presented a proposed agreement to the Taney County Commission on Oct. 29 requesting that the Commission “Approve a tax revenue sharing program designed to promote tourism to the region and increase county sales tax revenues.” Bourk pointed out that if approved the agreement would reinvest a percentage of the new county tax dollars generated by the presence of the airport to promote additional tourism to Branson and Taney County via the airport.

BA requested that the County Commission approve a tax revenue sharing credit equal to the amount of “on airport tax revenues” estimated to be generated in the first full year of operation, $418,632. Further, Bourk requested that the first revenue sharing credit be given in advance on Dec 1, 2008 or when the first national network carrier has announced service to the Branson Airport. He said that BA would like to receive the same benefit for about ten years but that the payments in all future years would be based strictly on the tax revenues collected from on airport tax revenues. “On airport tax revenues” are taxes from things such as rental cars, ticket sales, restaurants, and gift shops.

He went on to say that the marketing funds would be used to promote travel to Branson in the major cities along the routes of the carrier or carriers flying into the Branson Airport. Bourk said that BA had received a commitment for marketing assistance from the Branson CVB and stressed how critically important such marketing would be, particularly in the first year of the airports operation, for the success of the airlines serving the airport. He pointed out that if carriers pulled out of the Branson Airport because of lack of passengers it would be extremely difficult to get other commercial service to Branson in the future.

Presiding Taney County Commissioner, Chuck Pennell, expressed his consternation that with all of the planning and money that had gone into the airport and its development thus far that no funding had been set aside for something as critical as marketing. Bourk replied that it was planned that the local governments would fund the majority of the marketing covered by the agreement.

Western Taney County Commissioner Ron Herschend made a motion to approve the agreement subject to some conditions, but Eastern Taney County Commissioner Danny Strahan made a motion to postpone any decision for a period of two weeks which was seconded by Pennel and approved by a unanimous vote of the Commission.

Furnished Courtesy of the Branson Daily Independent.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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