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Old 04-21-2006, 06:20 PM   #1
Suselit
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"Downtown Trolley Gains Momententum"

From the Branson Daily News.
http://www.bransondailynews.com/story.php?storyID=898

By Cliff Sain
BDN Staff Writer

Downtown Branson merchants gained initial approval Wednesday for a tax that would fund a trolley system to and from Branson Landing.

The Downtown Branson Main Street Association is proposing a sales tax of up to 1 percent on retailers in the downtown area.

The tax would pay for a trolley system that would operate between the downtown district and Branson Landing, a new development that will be opening in stages this year. Branson Landing is a $420 million, public-private development that will feature approximately 100 shops along the city’s Taneycomo lakefront. In 2007, a convention center is scheduled to open.

In order to establish the tax, the association was required to petition the Branson Board of Aldermen for the establishment of a Community Improvement District in the downtown area. The CID would allow businesses within the district to collect an additional 1-cent sales tax.

Aldermen approved the CID during a special meeting Wednesday.

According to downtown association board president Stan Bess, an election June 6 for voters within the proposed district will determine the fate of the tax. If approved, Bess said businesses would begin collecting it Oct. 1.

Officials said the tax would bring in an estimated $300,000 a year. They say the trolleys will promote and expose historic downtown to Landing visitors.

Association board vice-president Jeff Justus said the type of trolley system, and its exact route, has not yet been determined.

“We’re in the process of looking at all the options,” Justus said. “At this point, I don’t think anyone can tell where the traffic is going to be. We want this to be something that is done right. We want this to be a plus for the old downtown and for the new Branson Landing.”

Branson Landing is not included in the CID, according to officials. On April 1, Branson businesses began collection of a 1-cent tourism district tax, and a county-wide eighth-cent tax to aid construction of a new judicial center. That brings the sales tax of downtown businesses to 8.6 percent, according to City Finance Director Deanna Schlegel. If 1 cent is added in Oct., the tax would hit 9.6 percent for downtown merchants.

“That might sound high, but I welcome you to try other tourist areas and see how our tax rate compares,” Schlegel said.

Downtown businesses had recently imposed a property tax on themselves to pay for a parking garage downtown. Schlegel said that tax expired last year.

The city also recently approved a CID for Branson Hills Plaza, which is imposing a half-cent tax on its businesses — Target, Home Depot and T.J. Maxx. Branson Landing is imposing a 1-cent Transportation Development District tax on its businesses.

Currently, Belk department store is the only business open that has begun collecting that tax.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:20 AM   #2
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A trolly sounds like an excellent idea. Can you imagine Branson Landing visitors WALKING up that hill?
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suselit
From the Branson Daily News.
That brings the sales tax of downtown businesses to 8.6 percent, according to City Finance Director Deanna Schlegel. If 1 cent is added in Oct., the tax would hit 9.6 percent for downtown merchants.

“That might sound high, but I welcome you to try other tourist areas and see how our tax rate compares,” Schlegel said.
I've been to more than a few tourist areas, but never encountered a tax that high. If I did, my first purchase would be my last.
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:56 PM   #4
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I wonder if there would be a charge for riding the trolley or would the tax cover it where it wouldn't cost the riders.
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