The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 3, 2013

TDD board doesn’t address idea of settlement with city

By Roger McKinney
news@joplinglobe.com

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho Transportation Development District board on Wednesday didn’t meet the expectations of the Neosho City Council and City Attorney Steve Hays.

Hays said at Tuesday night’s council meeting that he thought the TDD board on Wednesday might approve filing a joint motion with the city in state appeals court asking for a delay in filing briefs related to the city’s appeal. The city has until July 17 to appeal a court ruling that allows the TDD to continue.

Hays said the delay would be sought if there was another attempt for a negotiated settlement. He said after the council meeting that the proposed settlement would involve replacing the TDD with a community improvement district, as has been proposed by the city previously.

“The city has again stated that we are open to a settled resolution,” Hays said during the meeting.

But when the TDD board met Wednesday, nothing on that topic emerged. Chairman Ray Stipp said the board met behind closed doors, but there was no vote in closed session. Asked about the information discussed at the City Council meeting, Stipp said he couldn’t make any statements about that.

Hays said he had received a response from a TDD attorney on Wednesday, but he and the council would need time to review it.

Councilman Steve Hart said at Tuesday night’s meeting that the city is prepared to pursue the appeal if the council determines it is in the city’s interest. He said the city doesn’t need the TDD to solve the city’s transportation problems.

“I think this council is at the end of the rope,” Hart said.

“I’m tired of messing with the TDD,” said Councilman David Ruth.

Councilman Charles Collinsworth said he was glad that the first TDD project, a traffic signal and other improvements at U.S. Highway 60 and Kodiak Road, was completed.

“I can’t blame you guys for being skeptical,” Collinsworth said to his fellow council members.

The TDD is funded by a half-cent sales tax collected by businesses within the district. The sales tax revenues are to be used to pay the TDD’s $4.5 million share of the planned transportation projects, which total nearly $7 million. The Missouri Department of Transportation has agreed to pay the remaining $2.4 million.



Ceremony

A CEREMONIAL RIBBON-CUTTING was held Tuesday at U.S. Highway 60 and Kodiak Road, recognizing the completion of the signal project. All other TDD projects are on hold pending resolution of legal matters.