Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another move toward zoning?

According to the 9/22 DSJ, the Warrensburg Economic Coordinating Board wants to "educate" students and military that they should report themselves as local residents in the 2010 census. Seems they think that prospective businesses don't take those folks into acocunt when estimating if they can make money by locating here.

Buried deep in the article, however, was this statement: "Hudson cited the need to have some level of legal control over development around the Highway 13 Bypass area which is scheduled to start construction once the right of ways have been completed." Essentially, they want to hire a lobbyist to lobby the legislature to give them that control. If they can just get county zoning, state law would allow them to have that control without having to annex or provide services to the area. If they can get the legislature to let them set up a zoning area without a vote (like was done for the Knob Noster area), they'll have exactly what they want - control with no responsibilities.

Come on, folks. Those will be high-value intersections and will attract businesses that can generate money. If you want to control what goes there, annex the area - and provide services to it! Meanwhile, we'll be watching for more zoning shenanigans.

In Liberty

"Economic Development"

Yep, it appears it's full steam ahead for the "economic development" folks here, at least if the stories in the DSJ and digitalBurg.com are authoritative.

The Warrensburg Economic Coordinating Board wants to "educate" students and military that they should report themselves as local residents in the 2010 census (yes, I wrote more about that article in another post). From my experience, military generally do complete the census where they're permanently stationed; if they're on temporary duty (TDY), then they're likely to report their residence as their home station. Students are often transitory, as well, and they may just wish to promote their home towns instead of Warrensburg. A lot of the students are communters, anyway. What I don't understand is what retail businesses are so short-sighted as to not take into account the large semi-transitory population here? Industrial entities are a different sort; they need established non-transitory workers and students or military don't fill those needs. Ironic, isn't it, when the Warrensburg brand emphasizes the local population turnover - "Made Fresh Daily."

Meanwhile, the Johnson County Economic Development Corp. is going to have an out-of-town consultant prepare a "road map" to gain development. It's the usual stuff - figure out where we are and what we want to do - couched in the argot used by consultants. At least this is only costing $7,500; Warrensburg spent $60,000 to come up with a slogan that has to be explained to people (who are left with that glazed look on their faces after said explanation).

{An aside -I wonder why we have to go out of town to get consultants. Doesn't Warrensburg have enough brains here to come up with a plan written in language everyone can understand? Or is it the need to get someone outside so no local person or organization gains or loses status?]

Meanwhile, west of town in the little town of Centerview, an area entrepreneur is promoting his biomass energy project in the brand new industrial park being created there. Whle I'm sure there's bound to be some public money involved, it appears that this project is being driven by a private enterprise. Good for them!

In Liberty

Friday, September 15, 2006

Catching Up

Haven't posted for a while, in part because I lost a hard drive and had to rebuild more important files - and in part because digitalBurg.com dropped the links to blogs - which is how most people found me.

So, what's happening? The city inspection idiocy continues. The city is being sued over the failure to grant a variance for a minor set-back violation on a completed house, after the hosue had been inspected numerous times (See dB article). Meanwhile, property owners in a neighboring subdivision are complaining about shoddy worksmanship and below-code construction - on properties that supposedly had been inspected by the city during construction (see dB article). It's typical - government makes rules and then enforces them capriciously.

The City renewed its contract withthe GWACC&VC for the "tourism tax" subsidy. I've not had a chance to look at the contract, but I imagine, like the old one, the GWACC&VC doesn't have to show any hard results. That's why I call it a subsidy. Those towns that have a separate entity administering their tourism fund show actual creative efforts to promote tourism - real tourism brochures, subsidies for event promotion, even constructing new attractions. In towns where the money goes directly to the Chamber, without effective guidance or demand for results, end up a genral subsidy for Chamber efforts. If you want to see what's happening in another city where the tourism tax is a subsidy, see No Standing News, from Rolla.

Speaking of tourism, a controversy has arisen because Governor Blunt is politicizing the highly effective Missouri Division of Tourism. While, as a Libertarian, I might question the use of tax money to promote a private industry (tourism), if it's going to be spent I'd like to see it spent effectively. For more info, see Springfield News-Leader article.

In Liberty