A group of Neosho property owners approached the Neosho City Council last Tuesday for help in dealing with a neighbor they say is violating city code.

Donna Wells, James McGinty and Gene Franklin, who each own homes on Jefferson Street, approached the council to complain about a house located in the 500 block of South Jefferson Street, which Wells described as a “dump.”

“I look out my kitchen window and I just look at a dump of trash,” Wells said. “I can’t take it anymore. They’re lowering my property value and my neighbors’ around me.”

“It’s getting to be quite an eyesore, where people slow down to look at it,” Franklin added.

While the property owners said their neighbor had recently received a city citation, Neosho City Attorney Steve Hays said those citations issued in March would not make it to court until next month.
Hays said it is not uncommon for residents with similar violations to be issued multiple citations, about once a month, and still refuse to clean up the mess.

“Is there a way to speed that process along?” asked councilman Tom Workman. “I went by there, we  need to get it addressed.”

Hays said the city must follow the procedures already in place, and noted the legal difficulty when addressing one’s property.

“If people are going to live like this it’s very difficult to go onto their property, property is a right,” Hays said. “You can’t just go on somebody’s property and tell them to get out, there are procedural methods that have to be adhered to or the city could be looking at liability on its behalf. It’s a difficult situation. It’s not unlike any other city, within any community there’s going to be people who just have trashy homes.”

Hays did note the possibility of citing a property owner or resident weekly or even daily if the mess is not cleaned up, though he added that puts a burden on city staff and in some past cases, frequent citations have not been successful.

“It’s kind of disheartening,” said councilman David Ruth. “It makes me feel like I’m kind of wasting my time. If we can pass ordinances and we can pass the laws but we can’t enforce them, then I’m kind of wasting my time up here. I think there are things we can do and I think we need to get them done.”
Mayor Richard Davidson said the council takes the matter seriously, and City Manager Troy Royer said he would look into the situation.

Ruth asked property owners to bring the problem back to council if the situation is not rectified.
“If we can’t fix this then there’s not a dadgum thing in this city we can fix,” Ruth said.

In other business, the council:

• Voted to approve the Neosho Police Department to apply for the second round of the federally funded MOSCAP grant. The grant requires no matching funds from the city.

• Voted to allow residents at 13750 Kodiak Road to hook up to city utilities. The property currently has one single family home on it and is not contiguous with city limits, though the homeowner has signed an irrevocable consent to annex if his property were to become contiguous with city limits.

• Approved an agreement allowing Allgeier, Martin and Associates to provide engineering services for STP-4700(708), which is the overlay project on East Spring Street. The overlay of asphalt will run from the intersection of East Spring and Washington Streets to the other side of White Avenue. Allgeier, Martin and Associates were approved to provide design work for the project in 2009. Council also approved a similar agreement with Allgeier, Martin and Associates for STP-4700(707), which is the sidewalk, and curb and gutter improvements planned along East Spring Street, as well as the addition of a trail running from behind the Lampo Building to the helicopter pad in Morse Park.

• Voted, on final reading, to declare seven Neosho Police Department radios surplus, due to the age of the radios. The units have been replaced by a recent grant.

• Voted, also on final reading, to allow the mayor to sign off on an amendment to the city’s contract with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for State Block Grant Funds to update the property map at the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport. The amendment will extend the time period of the project to Dec. 31, 2013.

• Voted to accept several bids, including, a $6,000 bid from Xylem Water Solutions for 60 new UV bulbs for the city’s wastewater plant; a $73,680.60 state bid from Victor L. Phillips for a new backhoe for public works; a $23,676.64 bid from Blue Valley Public Safety for a new outdoor storm siren in Morse Park North; a $7,599 bid from Swartz Tractor Sales and Service for a new zero-turn lawn mower for the parks department, and a $900 bid from Weiser Tent Service for a 40-by-80 foot tent for the Celebrate Neosho event set for June 29.

• Announced vacancies that exist on the airport industrial development board; board of adjustments/zoning; economic development sales tax committee; parks, recreation and golf course board, and the planning and zoning commission. If interested in serving on any of these boards, contact city clerk Nora Houdyshell at 451-8050.

• Met in closed session to discuss legal issues. Davidson said no vote was taken.