On Tuesday of this week, your city council one again did its job and conducted business. The good news — we saved the city A LOT of money. The bad news — you haven’t heard much about it. What should have been the top headline Wednesday wasn’t because of other antics, but I’m here now to tell you about it myself and share more great news from your city!
What your council did was finalize a refinancing of some 2007 and 2010 city debt with the ultimate result being lower interest rates and lower interest payments. And like other refinancings we have done in the last two years, we DID NOT extend the term of the note. This refinancing will save the city an estimated $366,000 in interest. Compare that to five years ago when we didn’t even have $30k in the bank!
The lower interest rates are due in large part to the city’s long-term financial recovery and resurgence. This bond issue received the same “A” rating as our past two refinancings. That “A” rating was largely due to the city’s ability and ongoing commitment to rebuild and maintain financial reserves. While some on the council have criticized our reserves as excessive, it was rebuilding those very reserves that has allowed us to reap the benefits of lower interest rates. The firm handing the refinancing affirmed my statements regarding the importance of reserves during the meeting.
More good financial news came out yesterday. That news was a strong sales tax report showing our 1-cent sales tax revenues in August rose by more than 12 percent over last year. For the fiscal year (we have one month to go), we are more than 6 percent ahead of budget. Again – great news that you need to know! And we can see things all over town that are helping with what – new stores and restaurants continue to bless our town and a new truck stop is being built. Neosho is growing and we have a lot to be proud of!
The final piece of “good news” is that by a 3-0 vote (with Councilman Hart and Councilman Ruth declining to vote), your city manager, Troy Royer, was rehired for another three-year term. If you remember, Troy came to us from the state auditor’s office. At the time, we needed someone strong on the financial side. We certainly haven’t been disappointed! Troy and his team have done an amazing job at focusing on city finances and controlling spending. It was an honor for me to cast my vote to re-hire him. I was joined by Councilman Workman and Mayor Pro-tem Collinsworth in that vote. Neosho is fortunate to have Troy working for us!
So as you go about your business and head into the weekend, know that great things continue to happen in our town. We have great people working for us. We have great people leading us. And we have a core group of officials dedicated to making sure everything we do is done for one reason — making ALL of Neosho better!
Be extra cautious starting Wednesday of next week as our local kids start back to school. A special salute to all of the new and current teachers, faculty and staff who work so hard to educate our children. We appreciate you and all you do to make Neosho better!
Until next time: stay the course, keep the faith, and may God bless Neosho!
Richard Davidson is mayor of Neosho.