|
|
|
Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • TDD appeal fuels debate

  • The Neosho City Council engaged in another heated exchange Tuesday evening regarding their appeal of a November court ruling concerning the Neosho Transportation Development District.
    • email print
  • The Neosho City Council engaged in another heated exchange Tuesday evening regarding their appeal of a November court ruling concerning the Neosho Transportation Development District.
    For the second time in the last month, Neosho's Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hart publicly questioned the appeal, stating that he had not had the opportunity to vote one way or another on the appeal, and that as a councilman he had not had any say in authorizing the amount of spending going toward the appeal.
    Hart said since March of this year, the city's legal fees have totaled $68,538.
    The city is in the process of appealing Judge Kevin Selby's November ruling against their legal challenge of the TDD. The city questions the validity of the TDD based on the statute it was formed under and who acts as voters within the district.
    Councilman Charles Collinsworth said some council members do not believe their legal question was answered by the judge's ruling, which he called ambiguous.
    He said he also thought the city's appeal had been clear to him as a councilman.
    "How does that kind of money get spent without this council's approval?" Hart asked.
    "You ever heard of consensus?" Collinsworth responded, to which Hart argued that there was no consensus.
    As is common with legal issues, the city's legal battle with the TDD has been regularly handled in closed session.
    Whether or not there was an initial vote or consensus decision to move forward with an appeal is not apparent, as closed session discussions regarding the TDD have not been made public yet.
    However, as Mayor Richard Davidson noted in Tuesday's meeting, council members did vote in August in open session to continue with the appeal, after Hart made a motion for the appeal to be dropped. That motion failed 2-3, with Hart and Councilman David Ruth voting in favor of discontinuing the legal challenge.
    Ruth also said that because most of the TDD discussions have been handled in closed session, the public is unaware that he has been opposed to the appeal.
    Though in past meetings he was often outspoken in questioning the validity of the TDD, Hart says he too has been opposed to the appeal.
    "I know when the end is the end," Hart said. "We should have cut this off at that point, we lost our battle, we should've moved forward."
    The TDD, created in 2011, includes $6.9 million in proposed road improvement projects within its boundaries, which proponents of the TDD say should bring retail growth to the city.
    The first of the projects, a traffic light at Kodiak Road and Highway 60, was completed this year; however, the rest of the projects have been put on hold pending the outcome of the legal battle between the city and the TDD.
    Page 2 of 2 - Councilman Tom Workman said he sees the benefits the TDD can bring to the city, however, he wants to make sure the project is handled right.
    "I am for a TDD, I believe it takes retail growth to make a sales tax based community grow and that's been my deal all along," Workman said. "My backside of that is, if we're going to do it, make sure it's done correctly."
    Following the open session, council members were scheduled to meet in closed session to discuss legal matters.
    Both Hart and Ruth voted against meeting in closed session.
    Both were asked by City Clerk Nora Houdyshell to state their reasons for opposing the closed session.
    Hart said he would "like to keep everything in open," while Ruth said he was not aware of any matters that needed to be discussed in closed session.
      • calendar