The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 19, 2013

Neosho takes another step toward appeal of TDD ruling

NEOSHO, Mo. — The city of Neosho has taken another step toward appealing a November court ruling allowing the Neosho Transportation Development District to continue.

The city before Thursday’s deadline filed an electronic transcript of the case with the state’s Western Appeals Court in Springfield, according to Mayor Richard Davidson.

The city last year had filed the challenge in Newton County Circuit Court, alleging the TDD was formed under the wrong statute. Associate Judge Kevin Selby ruled against the city, saying that the city had waited too long to challenge the formation of the TDD.

The TDD has planned nearly $7 million worth of transportation projects along a retail area of U.S. Highway 60. Lowe’s and a Wal-Mart Supercenter are included in the district.

The TDD began collecting a half-cent sales tax in the district in January 2012 to raise its $4.5 million share of the projects. The Missouri Department of Transportation has committed $2.4 million toward the projects.

MoDOT has halted work on all but the single project that has started until the legal challenges end.

Davidson said by email on Friday that the filing simply continues to maintain the city’s options. He said it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be an appeal.

“The transcript filing keeps our options open for another 60 days,” Davidson wrote. “By that time, we should have a better understanding of the specifics on the pending taxpayer lawsuit and how that could impact the TDD and the city.”

He was referring to a potential lawsuit filed by someone who has paid the sales tax in the district who has threatened to sue the Neosho TDD. Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker has said he has talked with a potential client about filing the lawsuit.

TDD board member Steve Roark said the board doesn’t have any immediate reaction to the court filing, but it may release a statement next week.

Costs

The city so far has spent $55,228 on its legal challenges to the TDD, while the TDD Board has spent $205,552 on legal fees related to the city’s challenges.

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