Voters in Osage Beach will select an alderman for Ward 2 in the April 8 election. Incumbent Michelle Myler has filed for election and is challenged by Phyllis Marose and Bob Matula. Here, the candidates address the future of Osage Beach.

Voters in Osage Beach will select an alderman for Ward 2 in the April 8 election. Incumbent Michelle Myler has filed for election and is challenged by Phyllis Marose and Bob Matula. Here, the candidates address the future of Osage Beach.

*Editor’s Note: Candidates were given a word limit to adhere to. Answers were not altered in any way.

1. Please give us a little bit about yourself including background, education, public service, volunteer work and of course, your family.
Phyllis Marose: I have been a long-time resident and business owner for 49 years here at the Lake of the Ozarks. My husband and I have owned and operated Putt'N Stuff Family Fun Center for the past 25 years in Osage Beach.
Throughout these past years I served on the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as being past president and chairman of the Lake Lights Festival. I am also a member of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council recently honored me as “Business Person of the Year,” which is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed to a business owner in our entire lake area.
Bob Matula:  I served in the military in the early 1970s. My occupational background began with my degree in industrial electricity/electronics from Rankin College. I also served a four-year apprenticeship program with the IBEW which earned me journeyman wireman status. Continuing my education with certificates from OSHA, Allen Bradley Logic Controllers, Cat 5, 6/Networking and the National Electric Code has kept me current on a changing field.
My wife, Sue, and I purchased our first condo in 1991. We both retired and moved to the lake permanently in 2008. We have three married daughters and five grandchildren, which keep us busy.
I have been an active president of the Lazy Days Condo Association for the past 10 years. Like all large complexes with 229 units, we have financial and maintenance concerns. The board is ultimately responsible for establishing and maintaining budgets and financial matters pertaining to the association. I have annexed the last portion of the complex into city limits and handled the modifying of our dock permits with Ameren Missouri.
We are active members of the Lake Ozark Corvette Club, which provides a number of civic involvements. They provide cars and drivers for the homecoming parades, escorts for Wounded Warriors, along with other community activities.
Michelle Myler:  I am the current Ward 2 Alderman for the city of Osage Beach. My husband, Tom, and I began our lake experience in 1987 with family vacations to the lake traveling from our Quad City, Iowa, home. More frequent visits followed when we became second homeowners. When the last of our four children left the nest, we realized our dream of becoming full-time residents. In 2005, Tom accepted a position as director of the inpatient pharmacy at Lake Regional Hospital. My professional career is also in healthcare. I graduated with a degree in radiologic technology from Scott Community College in Bettendorf, Iowa. I continue to work two days per week for a local orthopedic surgeon. Osage Beach is the place we chose to call home because we approved of the way the city has evolved and progressed over the last 25 years.

2.  Why do you want to be an Osage Beach alderman?
Marose: I have had serious concerns about the continued growth of our city in the past couple of years, which has given me reason to want to be a member of the board of aldermen. The business experiences I have had in dealing with financial and operational issues should be a welcome contribution.
Matula:   Osage Beach Alderman is a long-standing ambition of mine to help with moving the city forward. With a strong background in construction and telecommunication, I feel I can add an informed decision on Charter and Internet expansion. I am a financial conservative.
Myler:  In 2007, I was appointed to the board of the Camden County Library District and continue to serve as the board secretary. This taxing entity is comprised of six library facilities (including the Osage Beach Library), 33 dedicated employees and many volunteers serving all residents of Camden County. As a member of the Osage Beach Planning and Zoning Commission when the Ward 2 vacancy occurred, I was ready to apply and honored to be selected. City budget meetings and the completion of the 2014 budget last November gave me insight into the various departments, their functions and how revenue is allocated. I have been busy attending events, meetings and learning all I can about our city. Expenses were put into perspective when I toured with the department heads from public works, engineering, water and sewer, police; airports and the shared (with Lake Ozark) joint sewer plant.

3. Extension of Osage Beach Parkway west to Y Road has been put on hold by MoDOT because state cost-share funds are no longer available. What can the city do to re-start the $3 million project?
Marose: MoDOT’s announcement of not having sufficient funds in their budget to complete the cost/share program for the Osage Beach Parkway extension is devastating. Businesses have definitely been affected by their decision for the “dead end.” The Key Largo exit will be improved with construction, which is underway now. Of course, one will still have to go to the Rt. KK exit off the Osage Beach Parkway in order to go west on Highway 54. I still recommend, along with many other citizens, to have a stoplight at least for the short-term solution until MoDOT can fulfill their commitment they shared with the city last year. MoDOT was not in favor to install said light, which seems unreasonable since one has been working just fine at the intersection of W Road and Highway 54 for some time. A warning, flashing light designating “signal ahead” is a definite safety factor and seems to be quite successful in other areas.
Matula:  MoDOT needs to understand that the Key Largo interchange was their design problem and the city is committing funds to help fix their problem. Key Largo was designed with west and eastbound access and no acceleration ramps. After the reopening, we only have eastbound access. I believe the city should have taken a more active role in the redesign of Key Largo. MoDOT needs to recommit their funds for the Parkway expansion.
Myler:  If the MoDOT cost share funds remain unavailable in the near term, the city can certainly look into other sources of financing the remaining 1.3 million. Removing the barricades at the west end of town is a city priority. With the planned extension, the 19 businesses currently operating west of Rt. KK should see more traffic volumes with access to the Parkway via the Y Road interchange. The extension would also benefit the residents who live down Lazy Days Road. Patrons and employees traveling east or west to the VA medical office and business park offices will have a safer, easier access. Having another parallel road to Highway 54 can help alleviate traffic delays in the event of accidents or maintenance repairs to the expressway. Road infrastructure (especially when the city is not bearing the entire financial burden) sets the stage for future revenue when businesses locate along its length.

4. Sales tax revenue, which is the major source of income for the city, has been relatively flat for several years while the cost of doing business continues to increase? What should the city do to solve the dilemma?
Marose: Sales taxes are the only means of revenue, which have not shown a significant increase over the past several years.
In order to accommodate our existing citizens and to enhance more companies to relocate to our community, our city needs to step up economic development. More concentration on the existence of the west end of the city is vital. Perhaps blocking off a portion of the Osage Beach Parkway during the “off season” and hosting arts and crafts festivals where artists and vendors can display and sell their wares. Parking lots would have shuttle service for commuting people back and forth to the Festival.
I’ve also had a suggestion that a portion of West End Osage Beach Parkway be the site to display the boats registered to participate in the OSS Boat Race. All of the above-mentioned would be positioned on the center lane of the Parkway. We could certainly have parades on our end of town and events to “Kick off the Tourist Season” as well as “Tourist Appreciation Event” Labor Day. Lake Ozark has hosted most of the major events in our lake area at Bagnell Dam for many years because the area is conducive to walking traffic and closing the main street.
Well, folks, due to our bypass, we now have a “main street” that can be blocked off for events in the “off season” as well. This would certainly enhance more interest for people to come to Osage Beach.
Our city government has a responsibility to its residents and business owners to keep up with the growth and development. One of my first and foremost objectives is to enhance the lifestyle and quality of living for our local residents. One example would be to install more sidewalks along lake roads and, most importantly, have an ongoing maintenance schedule. Another example would be to improve the “beautification of our lake roads.”
Matula:  The west end of Osage Beach has been devastated by the Parkway dead end. A higher emphasis should be put into revitalizing this area by first obtaining westbound highway access then attract new businesses to the area. With the area at Rt. KK and the Parkway already being developed, this is ready for a large destination store like a Costco or Sam’s.
Myler:  The 2014 approved budget is approximately $29 million. Overspending the budget is not an option for the board of aldermen. Most funds have a six-month reserve. Necessary projects are sometimes done in phases. Two thirds of the revenue comes from sales tax. Grants, permits and fees make up the other third. The city of Osage Beach does not receive any part of real estate or personal property taxes. Recent city cost-saving measures include job merging and not replacing employees through attrition and retirement. The continued investment in computers and technology has saved time, labor and some clerical positions. Most staff is cross-trained to handle other duties. Grants are being pursued at every opportunity. The city is in good financial position. The only debt the city currently has is low-interest water and sewer bonds.

5. Do you favor Tax Increment Financing as a tool to encourage businesses to locate in Osage Beach?
Marose: It’s also top priority to lure major “box” retail and/or manufacturing companies to Osage Beach. Economic growth is the main objective to keep any city up to the standards we all strive and live for. I’m totally in favor of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) as it has certainly been successful in attracting major enterprises in other areas. Revenues must “increase” in order to take care of our growing, residential and commercial businesses in our community.
Matula:  Tax Increment Financing is an excellent tool and should be used as a tool to encourage business to locate in Osage Beach. There should be no monies spent on improvements until guaranties are met to locate. Existing business should get other tax incentives for tax relief.
Myler:  The successful Prewitt’s Point TIF has benefited our city in terms of jobs, revenue and overall citizen approval. The Dierbergs TIF is on the way to having that same potential. Each TIF situation is different and needs to be evaluated as such, with citizens involved in the process. I would not be opposed to passing a Tax Increment Financing application on to the TIF Commission for consideration if the project meets the guidelines that Osage Beach has adopted. At that point, public forums would be held and professionals consulted. The board of aldermen does, however, reserve the right to reject any TIF project even if it does satisfy the list of guidelines. The city TIF policy requires the applicant or developer to put funds in an escrow account. This covers the city’s cost for administration of the application. The city cannot spend public money for a private project.

6.  Final thoughts: 
Marose: What has happened to our thoroughfare is “history” even though so many of us don’t understand nor appreciate what it has done to half of our city. Consequently, we have no choice but to “go forward” and begin taking steps in a positive manner to enhance more interest and development on the West End of the Glaize Bridge. The city has allocated funds in this year’s budget to pay for a sign to advertise the West End as well as paying for the digital signage on the East and West side of the Glaize Bridge to advertise the local types of businesses, e.g. restaurants, lodging and attractions. This is the “first step” to lure and increase more traffic on the West End.
Obviously many more “steps” will be necessary to take to keep Osage Beach alive all the way through the city.
So let’s get started! Accentuate the positive!!
Matula:  The west end of Osage Beach needs a strong dedicated alderman. I will always have an open door policy.
Myler:  I would like the citizens and businesses of Osage Beach Ward 2 to know that representing them will be my priority. It is a pleasure to work with my fellow board of aldermen and city staff. Great effort is made to keep the city operating within the budget and yet progressive enough to meet the current and future needs of all its citizens and visitors. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve our community.
Thank you to Dan Field and Lake Media for their efforts in putting this forum together.