The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 20, 2013

Neosho City Council to decide if it will appeal TDD court ruling

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho City Council will decide next week if it will appeal the November circuit court ruling that allowed the Neosho Transportation Development District to continue.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Mayor Richard Davidson on Tuesday said the meeting would be held in open session, and that council members and the city attorney would discuss options, and the drawbacks and benefits of pursuing a legal appeal.

The city last year filed a legal challenge to the formation of the TDD, alleging that the district was formed under the wrong state law.

Associate Judge Kevin Selby was direct in his rejection of the city’s position in November.

“The city is now asking the court to undo three years of effort of the district, which the court is unwilling to do,” Selby said in his ruling.

The city later filed a notice of appeal, which reserved the city’s right to appeal the ruling. Davidson called it a procedural move that wasn’t meant to indicate that the city would appeal. Members of the TDD board were critical of the move.

The action resulted in the Missouri Department of Transportation delaying TDD projects that were remaining this year. MoDOT had started a project to install a traffic signal and make other improvements at U.S. Highway 60 and Kodiak Road; that project will continue.

“We are not moving forward until the legal situation is more clear,” said MoDOT assistant district engineer Dan Salisbury.

The City Council’s decision will come the day before a public meeting scheduled by the TDD board to explain the TDD projects. That meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Neosho Middle School.

The TDD has planned nearly $7 million in transportation projects along a retail area of U.S. Highway 60. The TDD would pay $4.5 million of the cost through a half-cent sales tax collected from customers of businesses within the district. MoDOT has pledged $2.4 million toward the projects. Collection of the tax began in January 2012.

TDD board member Steve Roark said detailed aerial-view maps of the planned projects will be available for residents, and TDD board members will be on hand to answer questions.

“It was never designed to be done piecemeal,” Roark said last week about the projects. “It was designed as a package. It really works well when it’s all done as a package.”

Board posts

TWO POSITIONS on the Neosho Transportation Development District board will be decided in an election on Friday, April 5. Property owners within the district are eligible to vote.