Tonight, the Neosho City Council is scheduled to hold their fourth budget work session, as well as hold discussion on their legal challenge of the Neosho Transportation Development District.

Tonight, the Neosho City Council is scheduled to hold their fourth budget work session, as well as hold discussion on their legal challenge of the Neosho Transportation Development District.

The budget session is scheduled for 6 p.m., with the council meeting to follow at 7 p.m. with both sessions to be held at city hall council chambers, 203 E. Main Street.

Council members will have a third version of the proposed 2014 city budget to review this evening, after council members completed their initial review last week and requested that the city's department directors find areas of the budget to cut.

The latest version of the proposed budget shows $16.35 million in expenditures, with $15.3 million in revenue for fiscal year 2014.

However, expected expenditures dropped in the revised budget, down from $16.61 million in the previous version.

The approximate $260,000 in cuts came from the golf course, parks and recreation, human resources, general administration, police and fire department funds.

Proposed cuts include about $98,000 from the Neosho Police Department budget, which includes the elimination of one proposed police officer position, which would have been funded at $34,000 annually, as well as $53,000 for two new police department vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Neosho Fire Department's proposed budget was cut by $81,500, with the bulk of that coming from the capital items budget, which included items such as a new roof, boots, a copier and doors.

The fire department's capital items fund is now proposed at $4,300, down from $84,300.

Council members Steve Hart and David Ruth both expressed their objection to the city spending from reserves in recent budget work sessions.

Councilman Charles Collinsworth asked the city's department directors, in last Tuesday's budget work session, to look for areas in the budget they could cut, though he noted that he did not want the city to create problems by cutting too much.

"I want to see precise, smart cuts," Collinsworth said.

Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson again noted in last week's meeting that the city had been planning to spend from reserves in the 2014 budget.

With the expiration of the SAFER grant, which had funded about $400,000 of the fire department's salaries, the city intends to spend $440,000 from the reserves for the general fund, Davidson said.

He said the city had built up reserves with the expiration of that grant in mind.

The council is scheduled to review the budget once more after tonight, in their final budget session set for Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Council members are then expected to vote on the budget in their two September council meetings and have it in place by the start of the new fiscal year, on Oct. 1.

Following their budget session, council members will meet for their regularly scheduled city council meeting.

Among the council's agenda items for this evening is a planned discussion of the Neosho TDD.

In last week's budget work session, Hart told council members he was ready for the city to drop its appeal of the TDD.

The city is appealing the November court ruling of Newton County Judge Kevin Selby, in which he ruled against the city's legal challenge of the TDD.

The city began the appeal process in January, with their most recent requirement being to submit an appellate brief.

The city was granted a one-month extension to file their brief in July, with the deadline set for Aug. 16.
According to Missouri CaseNet, the city submitted their brief last Friday.

While Hart had wanted to discuss dropping the city's appeal of the TDD last week, the item was not on the agenda, and council is expected to pick up that discussion this evening.

"I'll go on record tonight to say I want this appeal to stop," Hart said in last Tuesday's work session.
In other business, council members are expected to:

• Consider two bids for plumbing services for city-owned facilities, as well as for overlay for several city streets.
City staff has recommended council approve G3 Plumbing, of Neosho, as the city's primary plumbing service and Burkhart Plumbing, also of Neosho, as the alternate contractor.

Staff has also recommended that council approve APAC to provide the overlay for the remainder of the city's 2013 street repairs.

The city has $175,000 in the street contract budget line item, with $33,633 of that going toward overlay on East Spring Street. APAC bid $140,064.40 for the overlay on the city's remaining street projects.

• Vote on first, second and third reading to set the city's property tax levy at .4256 of $100 assessed valuation.

• Consider approval of a billboard agreement with David Eads and Russell House for two billboards promoting the City of Neosho. One of the billboards is located half a mile south of the Interstate 49 U.S. Highway 60 exit, on the east side of the road, facing northbound traffic. The second billboard is located on the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 60 and Falcon Road, facing eastbound traffic. Council members approved the bid for the
billboards in their Aug. 6 council meeting. The combined four-week rate for the two billboards is $1,150, while the combined printing and installation cost would be $1,225. Council members will consider a three-year agreement.