While we would like for everyone to have a warm fuzzy feeling all the time, life just doesn’t work that way. Recently I posted information about a Public Hearing regarding the City of Neosho Property Tax for the upcoming fiscal year. This has brought on an entire series of discussions. These range across a variety of areas and contain some reasonable questions and statements. However, some are true and some are false.

While we would like for everyone to have a warm fuzzy feeling all the time, life just doesn’t work that way. Recently I posted information about a Public Hearing regarding the City of Neosho Property Tax for the upcoming fiscal year. This has brought on an entire series of discussions. These range across a variety of areas and contain some reasonable questions and statements. However, some are true and some are false.

 

Let’s start with the initial posting. There will be a Public Hearing on the property tax. A similar hearing was held in 2017, at which time the entire attendance was the City Council and staff. It was clearly posted just as the upcoming hearing has been posted and received a similar response. This hearing is a part of the yearly process and is required by law. The net outcome of the hearing in 2017 was a reduction in the property tax rate. That’s the facts.

 

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. we began the annual financial workshop for the preparation of the budget. This budget will take effect on October 1, 2018. This workshop is an annual process open to the public. During this process in the past two years, to the best of my memory, there were only a couple citizens in attendance for a couple of the sessions. During these workshop sessions, every line item of revenue and expenditure is under review. Any plans for the upcoming year are discussed, priorities reviewed, and funding is included. If the decision is of a negative nature, the funding is adjusted accordingly. Once this budget is established and approved by the City Council, it is then published to the website. Until that time, it is available for public review, but is pending the approval process. This budget contains information for plans and purchases in the future year but also covers the cost of producing services such as water delivery, maintenance of roadways, police services, fire department services, payroll, etc. Some of the values of future purchases will be set at the top of the scale in order to insure that at the time of purchase the actual money spent is within and below the budgeted amount. But as life goes, sometimes price increases can complicate that process. If it is a critical item and the acquisition of the item is essential, adjustments will be made. That’s the facts.

 

Life is controlled by limits. There are boundaries in our personal lives and they also exist in governmental lives. We don’t just cross over into the neighbor’s yard and start doing our own thing. The following boundaries exist within the city limits of Neosho: Route 86, Business 60, Business I-49/71, US Hwy 60, and Route D are all part of the MoDOT system. Highway 59 from approximately the area in front of Wal-Mart to the south end of the four-lane is the responsibility of the City of Neosho. This portion of the roadway was taken over by the City of Neosho around the year 1992. I have personal knowledge because I was employed by MoDOT and had just completed oversight of the project that rehabilitated that section of roadway. So as you make observations regarding work being performed on the routes that are under the authority of MoDOT, understand that the City of Neosho did not select the project, type of improvement, or do we fund the project. While citizens, staff, and even possibly Council members may not agree with the project selection made by MoDOT, this is one of the boundaries that we must live with. The sidewalks, asphalt overlay, ADA improvements, signals, lighting, maintenance, mowing, and the entire ball of wax is the responsibility and under the ownership of MoDOT. That’s the facts.

 

So, as we have stated in the past, the best way to know and understand is to get involved. Attend the budget workshops, council meetings, public hearings and other gatherings to get the facts. When you have the facts and understand the boundaries, it is a lot easier to avoid assumptions. In 1969 I learned from my mentor that when one assumes that they turn u and me into something else!

 

Paul Richardson is the public relations director and events coordinator for the city of Neosho. He also writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.