NEOSHO, Mo. — The city of Neosho plans to hold property owners responsible for cleaning graffiti, but if the city does the cleanup, property owners won’t foot the bill.

The Neosho City Council last week gave initial approval to an ordinance that holds property owners responsible for cleaning up graffiti on their property. Before initial approval, council members approved an amendment that alters how the city would enforce action against property owners who did not clean up graffiti.

According to the amendment, the city would have the right to cross the property line and perform any work that covers up the graffiti, similar to how the city will mow grass that is not cut by the landowner. But unlike cases where a lawn is mowed, the city will not charge property owners for the cleanup work.

Council members noted that while neglect of grass is completely on the landowner, someone with graffiti is the victim of vandalism.

“I think it’s appropriate to limit whatever the fee could be to protect the landowner who, through no fault of their own, is forced to pay costs,” council member Richard Davidson said.

The vote in favor of the measure was unanimous. Final approval is expected during a future council meeting.

In other business:

• The city granted a tax abatement to La-Z-Boy for a 60,480-square-foot expansion of the company’s manufacturing plant, located at 4301 Howard Bush Drive. According to a news release, the company plans to establish a parts distribution center in the new wing, to be built on the building’s east side, and estimates the construction to be valued at $6 million.

The center is part of more than $30 million in planned investments into the plant over the next two years. The center will require the hiring of 16 additional full-time employees, according to documentation from the city.

The council approved abatements over the next 10 years. According to the city’s charter, the plant is eligible for property tax breaks of 100% over the next two years and 75% over the next eight years. The property tax abatements apply only to the new construction.

• The city is due to receive $2.2 million over the next two years from the American Rescue Plan, the federal $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed earlier this year.

The city will receive half of the amount as soon as funds are released from the state of Missouri and the rest about 12 months later, according to city documentation.

 

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Joe Hadsall is the digital editor for The Joplin Globe. He has been the editor of the former Nixa News-Enterprise and has worked for the Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine.