Street improvements and city eyesores were among the concerns voiced by the handful of Neosho citizens who attended the city’s quarterly town hall meeting Thursday evening at the Lampo Building.
As crews from Rosetta Construction dig up streets throughout Neosho to replace the city’s water lines, some citizens are asking when crews plan to clean up the mess those water line replacements have left, and who will be paying for those repairs.
“If they tear it up, they’re going to pay to put it back like it was,” said Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson. “That comes out of the project fee.”
Davidson said Rosetta Construction workers would also be responsible for completing those repairs.
The $9.5 million water system improvement project, approved by voters in 2009, is funded in the short term by a low-interest loan from a state revolving fund, and is scheduled for completion by January.
Davidson said at Thursday’s meeting that outdated city maps have contributed to the delay in street cleanup.
“We needed isolation valves in some areas, they had to go and dig down to find the pipe to see how big it was, because they couldn’t rely on the map, then go order the valve,” Davidson said. “They didn’t want to go back and put concrete over it and then have to dig it up again.”
Mike Hightower, Neosho’s public works director, said Neosho residents should see improvements sooner than later.
“There’s so much work there to do, they bring two or three crews in, they’ve got one laying pipe, and the one coming behind it doing cleanup,” Hightower said. “They’ve had to install valves ahead of the pipe crew then wait until the pipe crew gets there to tie them in, so it’s kind of a mess. If you could bear with us just a little bit longer, it’ll be better.”
Citizens also voiced concerns about eyesores in town, including untrimmed or trash-filled yards.
Steve Hays, Neosho city attorney, said the city’s code enforcement officer addresses those situations, and said he encourages citizens to report those residences by calling the Neosho City Hall.
Hays said the process in addressing those eyesores begins with a citation, which is typically followed by a 30-day wait period, then a court date.
“If they plead guilty they get fined and typically the judge will put a fine on them but suspend paying the fine and give them 30 days to get it cleaned up,” Hays said.
Davidson also updated attendees with a positive report on the city’s finances.
Page 2 of 2 - Davidson reported that the city has a $17.1 million balanced budget for fiscal year 2013, which begins Oct. 1.
Davidson also reported that general sales tax revenues were up 5.51 percent in 2012, increasing largely in the first part of the year, and then decreasing for the last six months of the fiscal year.
Davidson said a five percent decrease in tax revenues is expected for fiscal year 2013, though that decrease should not be a significant problem for the city’s budget.
“Even with that decrease, $150,000 or so, we’re still in a balanced position on the budget,” Davidson said.
Davidson also reported that the city has enough cash reserves to cover 179.43 days if needed.
“We want to have at least 90, we’re building that up, we’re going to spend some of that down in 2013,” Davidson said.
Davidson also reported that in the next year the city plans to hire two new police officers, add two new vehicles to the police department’s fleet, and purchase the fire department one new pumper truck, to replace a 1979 model pumper.