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The Lake News Online
  • Looking forward Camden County: Kris Franken on fostering business

  • “Economic development efforts must consider many aspects of business health and development to be successful. The main points of consideration are taxation, incentives, and business climate. Camden County has one of the lowest property and sales tax rates in the state which helps attract new residents and businesses t...
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  • As the nation struggles to rebound from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, elected officials have the tough task of generating a productive business climate in a sluggish economy. Development has surged in eastern Osage Beach and in western Miller County, while things have gotten worse in west Osage Beach. Camdenton still sees a disproportionately high number of closed businesses and blighted districts were considered for parts of Sunrise Beach and Macks Creek as recently as a couple of years ago.
    The task of fostering a thriving business environment is no doubt an arduous task, but what's still unclear is how Camden County can keep up with its neighbors and with its own cities.
    What the candidates for presiding commissioner say:  What can be done to foster economic development to sustain existing business and entice new businesses to locate in Camden County?
    Incumbent Kris Franken says:
    “Economic development efforts must consider many aspects of business health and development to be successful.  The main points of consideration are taxation, incentives, and business climate.   
    “Camden County has one of the lowest property and sales tax rates in the state which helps attract new residents and businesses to the area.  These new people increase the user base for the existing businesses, as does tourist traffic.  An increasing customer base is the main item that is needed for well run, insightful businesses to thrive.  
    “New businesses can be split into three categories in our area.  Tourist based, retail, and manufacturing.  Small to medium tourist based and retail businesses will develop without incentives and will respond to the demand created by the population base and tourist traffic.  New large hotel and convention operations and large retail centers will sometimes require some type of incentive like Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Community Improvement Districts (CID), or Transportation Development Districts (TDD) to be feasible.  New and expanding manufacturing facilities normally look for property tax abatements to incentivize their activities.
    “Incentives should only be considered for businesses that have the ability to change the economic landscape for the county, that will provide significant enhancements to employment opportunities, or that bring services to the area that increase its appeal.
    “TIFs are the most controversial of all incentive mechanisms.  They decrease the generated property and sales tax revenues by roughly 50% and provide those funds back to the developer to reimburse qualifying expenses that were incurred during the construction of the project.  This results in creating demands on public services without all of the expected revenue.  When considering a TIF, the board needs to determine the economic impact of the housing and consumption of goods and services created by the workforce for the new facility to offset this reduction in revenue.  Also, if the business is bringing something new to the area, their tax dollars will effectively be “new” revenue.   Half of the revenue from a new business sector is better than no revenue from it, and the development of that new sector can be invaluable.
    Page 2 of 2 - “CIDs and TDDs are simpler and do not create funding decreases for public services.  They allow a developer to draw a district that encompasses their project, and charge themselves an extra tax that is used to reimburse qualifying expenses that were incurred during the construction of the project.  Funds from these types of taxing districts can also be used to fund future qualifying improvements within the district boundaries.
    “Keeping the Lake of the Ozarks desirable is our number one priority.  It is what brings visitors to our area.  We must bolster our efforts that maintain and increase our tourist traffic, and we must also continue to maintain our business friendly environment.  This is vital to the current and future success in Camden County.  The sales tax that was reported for Camden County for this month was up 36% over last year, and building permits issued by the County have also increased.”

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