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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Roark elected to TDD board

  • Property owners in the Neosho Transportation Development District voted Friday morning in a court-ordered election to appoint Steve Roark to a one-year term on the board of directors.
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  • Property owners in the Neosho Transportation Development District voted Friday morning in a court-ordered election to appoint Steve Roark to a one-year term on the board of directors.

    Roark received 229.97 votes, the total of all votes cast.

    "I've worked with the TDD board members and the city council members on trying to get the issues resolved between the two of them," Roark said. "I really believe that we are going to have some common ground identified in the very near future that can move this thing forward."

    Roark takes over the position formerly filled by Jim Cummins, who opted not to seek re-election to the board.

    Cummins, who also served as the board's chairman, was not present at Friday's meeting.

    He attributed his decision not to seek re-election to his responsibilities as vice president of finance at Crowder College.

    "I am a strong advocate of citizens serving on committees and boards for the betterment of their communities and neighbors. However, there are times when volunteer service impedes one's occupation. With two significant building projects underway at Crowder, I need to focus my efforts there," Cummins said in a statement provided by the TDD.

    Also absent from Friday's election were any representatives from the City of Neosho, the largest single landowner in the district.
    Landowners serve as the voters in the TDD, which operates as its own political entity, with their number of votes contingent on the amount of acres they own within the district.

    The City of Neosho opted not to partake in the TDD election on Friday as they are currently challenging the TDD's legitimacy based on the state statute under which the TDD was formed.
    "We stated in our petition that we do not believe the TDD was formed correctly, that it is a flawed entity," said Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson on Wednesday evening. "Any action by the city to nominate or vote in any election now that we filed that petition would imply that the actions of the TDD board are valid."

    The TDD and City of Neosho were scheduled to appear in court on Monday regarding that challenge, though that court date has been canceled.
    Officials from both sides said they recently received notice that the hearing had been removed from the docket, and as of Friday were not aware if it had been rescheduled.
    The city filed an earlier petition on Aug. 15 in Newton County Court stating that lawful notice of the TDD's July 16 election was not published once a week for two consecutive weeks prior to the contest as required by state law, and that the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission was not legally qualified to vote in the election.
    Page 2 of 2 - Cummins was the winner of that election, when he received 338.25 votes to the then-city backed candidate Roark's 280.81 votes.
    However, on Aug. 28, Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby ordered that the TDD'S July 16 election be thrown out and that the TDD hold a new election, to be held in "not less than 60 days" which TDD officials and attorneys interpreted to mean within 60 days.
    Following Friday's election, the TDD board of directors met, and voted to appoint director Ray Stipp as the board's new chairman. The board also appointed director Jeff Maxwell as vice chairman, a position formerly held by Stipp.
    Following the appointment of officers, the board met in closed session to discuss ongoing legal issues.
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