As I sat and watched the debate Wednesday night, I picked up a line from Gov. Romney that made me think back to this past April's election. The line was "Mr. President, you're entitled to your own airplane, your own house, but not your own facts…." Being a guy that likes to make sure that the "facts" are available to the citizens of Neosho, I wanted to update you on a project that we as a council have supported…once again!
Each year, developers from around the state compete for funds from the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC). That commission, by statute, is charged with providing financial assistance to construct, renovate and preserve affordable housing for Missourians. Functioning as a bank, the MHDC provides financing directly to developers of affordable rental properties.
Each year, those developers also approach local and county officials requesting letters of support for projects being proposed to the MHDC. Those letters of support are one of the many things taken into consideration by the MHDC as part of the process of selecting projects to finance.
Given the fiasco in March that included allegations of the city NOT doing its job to support such projects (even though we did), the council responded by adopting a resolution that outlines the city's position on future proposed projects and how, if requested, we would prioritize them.
Projects located WITHIN the City of Neosho would receive first priority in terms of letters of support and ranking. (After all, we are the NEOSHO City Council. It makes sense to me that we would first look to support developers doing business IN our city before we search further out.) Next consideration would go to projects contiguous with (e.g. touching) the city limits of Neosho that have agreed to be annexed. Lastly, we would consider projects outside of Neosho but within one mile of our city limits. (We as a council recognize that even projects just outside of Neosho can be beneficial to us.) We would yield to county officials for any projects outside of the above scope.
As the city was approached by developers this fall, we used the adopted resolution to rank our support.
On Sept. 18, 2012, I signed a letter, with council consent, supporting a project within the city being proposed by TerraVest Development. The project includes the renovation of the historic Shaffer Building in downtown Neosho along with new construction of duplex living out by Crowder College. This is one of the same projects that the council endorsed last year. That project, and one other located outside the city, were ultimately not chosen during the last funding period based on criteria established by the MHDC.
My latest letter of support ends with the following sentence: "The Neosho community looks forward to once again working with TVD and their team to create much needed housing in our community and urge you to look favorably on this application." I have also spoken with the developer and with State Rep. Bill Reiboldt about the project and once again reaffirmed the city's desire to help and support the projects. While I know we will do all we are asked to do, I wanted to make sure you knew (just in case someone said something to the contrary) that we are continuing to work on ways to make Neosho better!
Page 2 of 2 - I hope to see some of you at the Fall Festival tomorrow on the historic Neosho square. It's going to be a great day of fun, sunshine and cool weather! Until next time: keep the faith, stay the course, and may God bless Neosho!
Richard Davidson is mayor of Neosho.