The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.


Published October 9, 2019

‘Big Brother’ tech to be used to grow Osage Beach

OSAGE BEACH – The city has agreed to pay a company $65,000 to potentially help the city grow through “Big Brother” technology.

Last Thursday the city voted to execute a multi-year contract with Buxton Company for economic development tools and services for $65,000 for the first year.

Buxton gathers data specific to areas – in this case Osage Beach – that can then be used by the city (and retailers) to determine financial strengths and weaknesses. That data can then be used to work toward specific areas in the city that can be improved and bring in more money for Osage Beach.

City Administrator Jeana Woods briefly described to the board what Buxton will do.

“Buxton Company is a leading consumer analytic company who partners with municipalities to provide city government solutions for retail recruitment, retail base support, tax base increases through attraction, understanding the retail market, and other long-term economic development strategies through data, technology, and expertise of the markets,” Woods said. “A Buxton partnership will provide these services through their tools and solutions through dedicated support teams who act as an extension of our staff.

“The proposal outlines the following objectives and covers an optional multi-year time period. The first year is budgeted in FY2019 at $65,000. Cost for additional years and support are outline in the proposal.”

Proposal Objectives:
• Develop profile of residents and visitors, leveraging analytics,
• Tools and services to understand current retail and restaurant economic conditions,
• Tools and services to recruit new retailer and restaurants,
• Tools and services to for retention of existing retailers and restaurants.

“I am confident that these objectives through a partnership with Buxton will support and assist in targeting development, support existing business, and provided valuable data for a wide range of economic enhancements,” said Woods.

The “Big Brother” reference was made by Mayor John Olivarri in describing how Buxton obtains their data.

In the proposal sent to the city, Buxton described how they get information on individuals.

Step 3 – Profile Your Trade Area’s Residential and Visitor Customers

“You will have insights into more than 7,500 categories of lifestyles, purchase behaviors, and media reading and viewing habits of your residents and visitors. Buxton will develop three unique profiles for your solution:
1. Residential Profile – will analyze all the households in your drive-time trade area.
2. Visitor Profile (non-resident) – will analyze mobile data devices for a recent twelve-month period where the device holder’s originating address is located outside of your city limits (domestic addresses only). Buxton will combine this mobile dataset with our other household-level data, which provides Buxton with a way to develop an accurate consumer profile of the visitors to your community.
3. Combined Total Community Consumer Profile – Buxton will combine your residential and visitor profiles to develop your overall consumer profile which will be used to match retailers and restaurants to your community.”

Since people can be tracked through their cell phones, Buxton has access to that data and can (allegedly) track where that person came from.

As an example, if someone comes to the lake area from Columbia, MO, then Buxton claims they have access to data that would tell them where that person lives and where they went in the lake area.

Buxton says that data can be used by the city (and some retailers) to discover where the visitors come from and try and market a specific service to people like that.

The data is also taken on residents of the city and lake area – without their knowledge or permission.

Buxton claims that all this information is legal for them to obtain and use.

The scope of services that Buxton will provide for the city is:

1. Develop profile of residents and visitors, leveraging mobile analytics
2. Understand current retail and restaurant economic condition
3. Recruit new retailers and restaurants
4. Retain existing retailers and restaurants

If the city decides to continue its relationship with Buxton for years two and three, it will cost them $50,000 per year to do that.

This subject has been discussed by the Board of Aldermen numerous times in the past year along with a presentation from Buxton on what they do, how they do it and the alleged benefits the city can obtain for partnering with Buxton.

Because the subject had been discussed by the board at length in the past and a time deadline, the Board of Aldermen approve both readings of the bill hiring Buxton.

In other business at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting:

• Heard a brief presentation from Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) about a possible tax increase so they can service the area with a local branch of the college.

This tax will be placed on the ballot by local schools who are interested. If approved by voters, then OTC will come into the area and construct a facility.

• Approved the second reading of a bill amending the Human Resources System (Personnel) Rules and Regulations
• Approved the second reading of a Cooperation Agreement with Lake of the Ozarks TriCounty Lodging Association for a Destination Tournament Soccer Complex.

The board held a public hearing on rezoning a tract of land on Nichols road from the current A1 Agriculture and C1 (General Commercial) to R3 (Multi Family).

The land is owned by the Kahrs family and they plan to build up to 384 apartments on the site. Mayor Olivarri said these will be “high-end apartments”.

The board then approved the first reading of the change in zoning.

• Approved the first reading relating to the control and use of City Right of Way and establishing new sections of the Municipal Code.

This bill is designed to clarify the right of the Board of Alderman to control all city right of way and delegate to staff the limited ability to approve certain routine incursions of the right of way, for instance a new driveway or an underground change, to the City Administrator with the advice and concurrence of the Public Works Director and the Building Official.

The second reading of the above bills should take place at the next Board of Aldermen meeting.

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