The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 25, 2012

New TDD board election set for today

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — A new election for a position on the Neosho Transportation Development District board will be conducted today.

The city isn’t participating. Neither is the person who currently holds the position, which he won in July.

Associate Circuit Judge Kevin Selby in August ordered a redo of the July 16 election, without the participation of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

In the July election, board member Jim Cummins was re-elected with 338.52 votes to 280.81 votes for Steve Roark, who was the candidate backed by the Neosho City Council. Each property owner receives a vote for each acre of district land owned.

The state commission, which governs the Missouri Department of Transportation, cast 93 votes in July.

Cummins, vice president of finance at Crowder College, said he wants to concentrate more time and energy on his job.

“It has taken up a considerable amount of my time,” Cummins said of his service on the TDD board. “We have significant projects out here at Crowder. That’s where my attention needs to be.”

Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson said though the city is the largest property owner in the TDD, it won’t vote in the election. Nor will it back a candidate.

The city filed a court petition contending that the TDD wasn’t properly formed in 2010. Davidson said because the city is arguing in court that the TDD isn’t valid, it would be hypocritical to participate in the election.

“We don’t feel we can do that, given the fact that we’ve filed the challenge to their formation,” Davidson said.

A Monday court hearing on the city’s challenge has been removed from the court docket, but both Davidson and Cummins said they don’t know why.

Though the city isn’t backing anyone in the election, both Richardson and Cummins said they’ve heard that Roark, the city’s candidate in July, may place his name up for consideration.

“I’m hopeful that Steve Roark will be a candidate again,” Cummins said. “I think he would be an excellent candidate.”

Roark said he has been considering the board position and meeting with people about the election, but he hadn’t made a decision late Thursday afternoon.

The TDD began collecting a half-cent sales tax within its boundaries in January to pay for $4.5 million in projects along U.S. Highway 60, an area that includes several retail stores. The Missouri Department of Transportation has pledged $2.4 million toward the projects.

Time, place

THE ELECTION by property owners within the TDD is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the Hale McGinty Business Development Center, 216 W. Spring St., where the offices of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce are located.