Neosho City Council members voted Tuesday night, on final reading, to rescind a cooperative agreement between the City of Neosho and the Neosho Transportation Development District.
Council members described the action as simply a housekeeping move.
“There was nothing malicious about our rescinding that, void of any hard feelings, it was just good housekeeping,” said councilman Charles Collinsworth. “It was tying up loose ends. We have asserted that the TDD is not lawfully formed, there has been some admission on their side that this is correct. We want to work something out that will benefit the city of Neosho, but we want to work something out that is lawful.”
The City of Neosho filed a petition in August with the 40th Circuit Court, alleging that the TDD was invalid, based on who acts as the voters in the district.
There are three ways under Missouri state statutes to form a TDD. Under subsection 1 of RSMo 238.207, a TDD can be formed by petition of 50 or more registered voters or all owners of real property within the proposed district. The Neosho TDD was formed under subsection 2, which requires the petition of a single local transportation authority, which the City of Neosho acted as. A TDD could also be formed under RSMo 238.207, subsection 5, which requires the petition of a local transportation authority, supported by joint resolutions of two or more transportation authorities.
While the landowners in the Neosho TDD serve as the voters, RSMo 238.202.2, only defines landowners as the qualified voters for subsections 1 and 5.
Though subsection 2 is not specifically named under RSMo 238.202.2, that section does state that under a subsection other than 1 or 5, the legal residents of the district are the qualified voters.
The Neosho TDD was formed in February 2011, via petition at the Newton County Circuit Court and by a vote of property owners within the district.
The landowners also voted in August 2011 to approve a 20-year half-cent sales tax on purchases made at most businesses within the district to fund future traffic improvements.
The TDD and the City of Neosho are now set to meet in the Division III courtroom of the Newton County Courthouse at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 before Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby, to address the validity of the TDD.
On Tuesday, Steve Hart, Neosho councilman, echoed Collinsworth’s comments.
“This TDD is flawed and anything that is flawed, the city can’t have a part of,” Hart said. “Whether you call it illegal, whether you call it flawed, whether you call it broken. The city, and I believe us, as representatives of the people of the city, cannot engage in any entity that is considered flawed or illegal or broken.”
Meanwhile, the Neosho Transportation Development District’s board of directors also met late Tuesday afternoon, primarily in executive session.
Page 2 of 2 - The directors voted in open session to amend the budget to pay $64,418.56 in attorney’s fees, $34,769.16 to Williams and Campo, P.C. and $29,649.40 for Yates, Mauck, Bohrer, Elliff and Fels, P.C.
Chris Williams, an attorney for the TDD, told board members that under the August 28 court order, which instructed that the TDD must hold a new board of directors election and temporarily cease spending tax monies, the board may only expend, appropriate, transfer, or disburse funds in four cases: the completion of the traffic light project at Kodiak Road and Highway 60, the collection of the TDD sales tax, expenses related to conducting a new directors election, which was held last month, and for actions necessary for compliance with the court order.
The board of directors also went into a lengthy executive session Tuesday to discuss legal issues. The board is expected to release a formal statement this weekend, but it is currently being reviewed by the TDD’s attorneys, according to board chairman Ray Stipp.
The Neosho City Council was also scheduled to meet in executive session Tuesday evening, to discuss legal issues relating to the TDD’s earlier meeting.
However, Richard Davidson, Neosho mayor, said the council had not heard from the TDD or their attorneys as of the council meeting Tuesday night.
As a result, no executive session was held.