At What Cost?

From Keith Broekemeier

Talk of a new road expansion for F, TT and MM has been brought to the Camden County Commission by the Bridge Corporation this past May 28th. During this meeting the Bridge Corporation wanted to discuss the Tiger 5 grant. Bridge Corp. would have to secure two million dollar to insure retaining the Tiger 5 grant and they feel confident in securing these funds and predicts a 10% increase in volume of traffic if the expansion is accepted.

Mr. Cliff Luber has brought monumental attention to the citizens of Camden County about vague wording in the Tiger 5 and Mr. Frankens willingness to put up one million to help Bridge Corp. with the grant. Mr. Luber has informed the public with details about the loan Franken has offered. This loan would be made to the Bridge Corp. with little to no interest and a indefinite timetable on paying back the loan. Commissioner Luber was never informed of any offers being made by the county till the meeting was all ready in section.

This has become a habit of Commissioner Franken, not informing our 1st and 2nd commissioners of agendas that are taking place until the meeting is already in progress.
I don’t know how we can have an effective commission when we have one commissioner always leaving our other two in the dark. This only seems to be a habit for Mr. Franken when it comes to spending the taxpayers money. Franken never informed Bev Thomas about the software deal until the day of purchase and our other commissioner (Gumm was 2nd commissioner at the time) was out of town. Which was $60,000 originally(now $53,000) and now a $1,000,000 to help out the Bridge Corp. secure a grant.

How can the county trust Commissioner Franken, when he seems to be making deals before meetings have taken place. It’s my understanding our 1st and 2nd commissioners need to be aware of what‘s happening before the day of. Thomas and Luber are there so the commission isn’t run like a dictatorship.

Franken was on the radio last Monday morning talking about county tax revenue and still pushing for the EEZ. Franken did spend three seconds stating that “if the county didn’t want to go with the EEZ, that was ok with him“. Then talked for 4 minutes making the case that the county needs it if we want to entice business’s to come here. Franken stated that the EEZ is “Missouri’s primary tool for attracting new business“. Surprise, surprise this is not true. There are many incentive programs the state of Missouri offers that are far better than the EEZ. Franken, made it sound like the EEZ is the easy way to victory for our area, which in reality it’s the farthest thing from.. It’s not pass in our county, so why not look into other incentive programs that would bring business here. This is not happening because Mr. Franken seems to think it too much work.

Manny with the morning magazine on KRMS, brought up the new Wood’s store on Hwy 5 and F and asked Franken if revenue for that store is coming in as expected. Franken said it was too early to tell at this point, he would have better information on this next month. This new Wood’s store was built with a TIF. The developer is to receive $5,300,000 in reimburse project costs, approximately 33 percent of the total project costs — $4,550,000 for site development and $750,000 for professional services. The developer projects reimbursement will be complete, or bonds will be retired, in about 15 years, by the year 2027, assuming a 7% interest rate.

Knowing the store was built with a TIF, this has added some strain on the Fire Dept. The Dept is now soliciting for tax increases because of Wood‘s tax incentive. The county knew cutting the sales tax would effect the Fire Dept. and leave it unequipped to handle a fire if one were to brake out at Wood‘s. Not only that, the new store has to double it’s revenue to meet it’s previous mark with the country.

I don’t know if this is possible. It seem to me that this store was built to appease our tourist down Shawnee Bend, not to generate tax money. Let’s remember too that this has left Greenview without a grocery store. So anyone around that area has to travel to Camdenton or Sunrise Beach. This will cost our locals more in gas. So, we have a new store and now talks of road expansion that Franken is willing to give a million dollars for.

Some might not know, if the EEZ is passed that the area from F road to the toll bridge is not effected, most of the areas effected will be where our locals live.

This makes one wonder, is the best interest of the county at heart or is the county more worried about keeping tourist happy? What is taking place to bring good paying jobs here? Most of the jobs created have been minimum wage. I understand creating this jobs are better than not having any jobs at all, but this does not fix the problem. These people will still have to be on some kind of government assistance because the wages are too low.

Those thinking the EEZ is the only way to go, do more research. It’s a small time tax incentive, let me show you.

Manufacturing suppliers located in one of the 100+ “Enhanced Enterprise Zones” that will create at least 2 new jobs (with average wages at least 75% of the county average) and $100,000 in new capital investment may receive refundable tax credits for 2% of new payroll and ½% of new capital investment (limited to $500,000/year), each year for 5 years.

Example: 20 new jobs @ $30,000 average wage and $500,000 new capital investment could result in $72,500 in refundable tax credits over 5 years.

This is not going to bring new business. Franken stated on Monday’s radio show that manufacturers want buildings with 15 to 20 foot side-walls. He also said that most of our vacant buildings are only 8 to 10 side-walls. So, why would a manufacturer move to Camdenton? This tax break is only good for manufacturing. I doubt a company would building a new facility in Camden County when other cities offer better incentives programs.

I just wonder what Franken is thinking? Why would the county help out the Bridge Corp. with a million dollar loan? They said they could come up with the money, Bridge Corp. doesn‘t cut the locals any breaks. I think Mr. luber had the right idea, use that money on the employee’s and the equipment those employee’s need to do their jobs. Just a thought

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