Today, I'm reviewing the master transportation plan. Listening to the last 6 hours of audio isn't as fun as it may seem. The head of Branson's engineering department is a man of exceptional character; however, his monotone matter of fact demeanor makes for not so pleasant listening...For a moment I want to get back to Mike Rankin. When I first met the guy he gave me the hebie jeebies (sorry Mike - it's the cowboy boots and those hard looks that look like they fire bullets). Since - we've actually got to sit down for a little while over the past few weeks. You read about the whole disclosure deal... (see two posts down) but here's an element missing from the story:
Rankin was personally sued, settling for $5 grand while the Australian's were working on their version of the Branson Landing. Mike Rankin told the City Council he "lives by a code" and refuses to break it. Personally, I respect that and so did (more importantly) Alderman Stephen Marshall. The issue is new agreements made and how things are handled moving forward.
The question is how is Branson going to move forward. The message to city council was a little bit wishy washy - since they didn't lay it down - perhaps because the perception of how the new council "think" - I thought I'd give you the perspective as I see it.
Tourism is the backbone of the Branson economy but other sectors are being developed. It's nice to have plenty of 8-10 dollar an hour jobs but some of us have families to feed. You can't really feed a family at that wage and with real estate values as high as they are - you can't expect to get ahead or have a quality of life greater than a large segment of our market best categorized as the working poor.
Representatives from Governor Blunt's office see Branson as an easy market. Low education levels and low mean wages are perfect for the manufacturing sector. It's a sigh of relief for state reps considering the demands of urban centers who want investment in risky - but sectors with high revenue potential such as Bio-tech. The beauty of projects such as the Montain Complex and Commerce Park is that it could lure a higher paying job market to the area. Now let's step back into the "midwestern work ethic" the Obama family was talking about last night. Let's say a family has a primary and secondary provider. The jobs being sought are for primary providers - 15 dollars an hour and up..