The Neosho City Council gave authorization Tuesday evening for the Neosho Police Department to pursue another grant intended to help fund safety equipment improvements.

The Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, funded through the Missouri Department of Public Safety, would help pay for siren and light control boxes, is in the amount of $9,000 and would require a 10 percent local match from the city.

“In the last several years, we have had a program to replace our safety equipment,” McCracken told council members. “Primarily that’s the items in the vehicles such as light bars, sirens, transport devices. This year, we’d like to make an application again to finish this project out.”

According to the grant application, the department would purchase 10 new siren boxes with the funding.

McCracken said once the upgrades are complete, the remainder of the grant could help fund the department’s purchase of a new vehicle.

“We finished our project, had money left in the grant and thought that would be a good project to save the city money,” McCracken said.

He said the department is planning to purchase a new vehicle to replace a patrol car that was lost in a recent accident. While insurance will cover a significant portion of the car payment, McCracken said the grant could help cover part of the remaining cost.

According to the grant application that would leave the city with  $435 to pay toward siren boxes and about $4,000 toward a new patrol car.
The local cost has been included in the department’s 2014 budget, the police chief said.

The grant is offered annually, and Neosho received it in 2012 as well, in the amount of $9,997.

Council members also voted to approve an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission providing the police department with a new breath-alcohol testing instrument.

The device will be provided through the Missouri Safety Center’s Alcohol Impaired Driving Countermeasure Grant, funded by the Missouri Department of Transportation, Traffic and Highway Safety Division.

McCracken said the Neosho Police Department is a backup location for Newton County DWI testing, with the Newton County Jail serving as the primary location.

The Missouri Safety Center is in the process of replacing all units with the new devices, he said.

The instrument replacement will be at no cost to the city.

In other business:

• Council received correspondence from the city’s municipal judge, Andy Wood, requesting that the traffic commission consider reducing the speed limit on Neosho Boulevard from 45 mph to 30 or 35 mph, between Daugherty Road and Walnut Street. The request was passed along to the city manager to look into, Mayor Richard Davidson said.

• Council members approved on first reading two annexation requests, for the properties located at 2826 Gordan Place, and at 2308 Bowler Place.

•  Council approved an agreement with Branco Enterprises for the scheduled work on East Spring Street, which includes upgrades to sidewalks, curb and guttering and asphalt overlay along a portion of the street, and a trail running from the Lampo Center to the helicopter pad in Morse Park.

• Council tabled a letter requested from Crosslines Ministries, to accompany the organization’s application for the Neighborhood Assistance Program grant. The grant would be used to assist in renovating the new location for Crosslines’ food bank and resale facility. The letter requested from the city would state that the city has no conflicts in that area. The matter was tabled Tuesday to allow City Attorney Steve Hays to review it.

• Council members voted 4-0, with Councilman Charles Collinsworth abstaining, to approve a $1,980 agreement with American Media Investments for the Neosho Fire Department’s north repeater site, located northwest of Neosho.

• Council approved an agreement with Party Station, of Nixa, for six inflatable/mechanical rides for the Neosho Fall Festival at a cost of $3,500.

• Council voted 3-2, with members Steve Hart and David Ruth voting no, to transfer from the drainage to parks fund to cover the cost of the restoration of the staircase in Big Spring Park.

• Council members voted to appoint Gib Garrow and Rick Sweet to two of the four vacancies on the Airport Industrial Board; Rudy Farber to one of two vacancies that exist on the Enhanced Enterprise Board; and David Yates to one of two vacancies on the Planning and Zoning Commision.