The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 9, 2013

Our View: Where will it end?

The Joplin Globe

— It may be a legal battle between the city of Neosho and the Neosho Transportation Development District, but it’s the taxpayer who is footing the bill for the ammunition.

Between the two government entities, more than a quarter of a million dollars has been spent on lawsuits surrounding the creation of the TDD and the election of board members.

The ongoing legal fight has now caused the Missouri Department of Transportation to halt plans for nearly $7 million worth of proposed TDD projects. The TDD would have paid $4.5 million using a half-cent sales tax within the district, and MoDOT would have paid $2.4 million.

A Newton County circuit court judge has already ruled against the city, saying it had waited too long to raise its hand and challenge the TDD’s formation.

But it appears that legal battles may not be over. The city is considering appealing the circuit court’s ruling but must make the decision by April 18. Meanwhile, a resident who pays sales tax within the Neosho district is considering filing a lawsuit challenging the TDD.

We are reminded of the exchange of lawsuit filings between former Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn and the Jasper County Commission.

It’s an expensive — and foolish — way to run government.

We are not taking a side in this editorial, but we are pointing out what we know is obvious to all involved — more than $250,000 is gone with nothing to show for it.

While individual taxpayers can’t be stopped from suing, Neosho city and TDD leaders should seek to stanch the flow of dollars going right out the window.