by: Scott McCaulley
One of the topics that dominated an over four hour Branson Board of Alderman Meeting Tuesday night was a discussion on whether to continue with SMG to manage the Branson Convention Center or go to Ambridge Hospitality, the group currently managing the Hilton Hotel.
A Resolution was before the Board to begin negotiation on a new contract with the current one set to expire this year. After City Staff received input and looked over the proposals from the the two companies, the recommendation was for a new contract to be discussed with current management company SMG.
That sparked discussion on both sides of the issue with SMG proponents discussing the continued improvement on the financial side closing the deficit of running the Convention Center and the number of groups using the center while opponents included some of the groups who use the center for their events discussing some of the increase in costs plus some issues with the relationship of the companies managing the Hotel and Convention Center.
In the end, the Resolution to recommend the Mayor enter negotiations with SMG passed on a 5-3 vote with Alderman Kevin McConnell and Larry Milton voting in opposition. Alderman Rick Castillon was not present.
Mayor Edd Akers was also not able to attend the meeting which was run by the President of the Board Bob Simmons.
Complete audio from the Discussion and Vote at the meeting is below. First Link is comments from the Public Comment Section of the meeting with the second more comments including discussion and vote on the Resolution: