The City of Branson has established a new Department intended to save Branson businesses and developers time and money in their efforts in dealing with the city. As of January 3, 2022, the new Community Development Department (CDD) began the process of transitioning to a more effective and efficient “one-stop shop” for Branson businesses and developers. It is located in the same area in City Hall as the old “Planning and Development Department.” The CDD replaces it, performing its functions and the additional operations necessary to provide Branson businesses and developers with one-stop-shop service.
Assistant City Administrator also Director of Branson’s Community Development Department
John Manning, the Assistant City Administrator, will also be the Director of the CDD. He said that in many cities, having a City Administrator and Assistant City Administrator, it’s common that the Assistant City Administrator also has a department.
In a recent interview, Manning points out that the new CDD is part of an internal reorganization of the city’s Admin, Finance, Fire, Planning, Police, Public Works, and Utilities. Its purpose is to synchronize economic and community development activities into a “one-stop shop” focusing on efficient and effective operations for Branson citizens, businesses, and developers.
Q & A
Director of Branson’s Community Development Department
On January 27, 2022, CDD Director John Manning took part in a “Question and Answer Format” interview with the Branson Globe. The questions asked by the Globe, preceded by BG and Manning’s answers by JM, are presented below:
BG: How does the dual role between Assistant City Administrator and Director of Community Development work?
JM: In many cities with a City Administrator and Assistant City Administrator, it’s common that the Assistant City Administrator also has a Department.
BG: Will this reorganization cost the city any additional positions or money?
BG: Will it help to bring new businesses into Branson?
JM: It will make the process easier
Branson’s Community Development Department one-stop-shop for Branson Businesses/Developers
BG: How will it do that?
JM: We are taking the city’s “Open For Business Program” and turning it into a department where you will have, ideally, a one-stop-shop for business development, relicensing, etc. all on in one spot all the time, not just on Tuesday morning at 0800, but all week long.
BG: Will that one-stop-shop philosophy apply to existing businesses that have business problems with the city of Branson?
In Transitional Stage
BG: How long is this transitional process going to take?
JM: I truly believe in the old Navy Seal Motto, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” We are conducting a methodical process and are not rushing. We have to remember that because we are not growing in the number of people or positions, everybody that was doing a job in December still has that job to do today, only we are adding the burden of transitioning into a new department.
BG: So they will be performing the same duties they were performing, just in this department?
JM: Exactly. The vast majority are performing the exact same functions, with some having additional duties.
Branson’s Community Development Department will save city money
BG: Do you see a possibility of actually saving the city money?
JM: Definitely. As an example, we are not backfilling Joel’s position as the Director of Planning and Development. Over time, in efficiency and effectiveness, we’ll save money for the City of Branson’s municipal government. But the real big deal is, hopefully, we will be saving Branson’s businesses and developers time and money in their efforts in dealing with us.
BG: Would that apply to not only incoming businesses but existing businesses?
JM: Yes. Just one example would be reinspections. As we get this department up and running, put everybody under one roof, with one level of supervision, and make some of our processes and procedures more efficient, reinspections will be smoother, faster, and easier to work through with the one-stop-shopping process that CDD offers.
BG: How have existing city businesses been incorporated into the process of developing this new department?
JM: In addition to the ongoing daily assessments and adjustments taking place, at two points in the process, we will have formal assessments where we take a deep dive look at where we are. These will involve not only CDD staff but also some of the businesses involved with the department during the transition period. We will reach back out and ask them for a little help in assessing how well we are doing.
BG: What’s the one thing you want our citizens to know about the new Community Development Department?
JM: For the typical resident of Branson, it will be seamless. It will not negatively impact them. For existing businesses, the biggest impact will be increased efficiency for those having to come to the city to get business licenses, reinspections, or permits for their business, etc. For new businesses coming to Branson, it will provide, right off the bat, a “one-stop-shop” helping them all on the way to get their business up and running from scratch.”