Neosho is looking to sell dirt from city-owned properties as an occasional source of income, but not before coming up with a written policy first.


Neosho is looking to sell dirt from city-owned properties as an occasional source of income, but not before coming up with a written policy first.

On Thursday the city council postponed a decision on allowing the city manager to sell fill dirt at fair market value to construction companies, pending consideration of formal guidelines.

Neosho Public Works Director Mike Hightower said the city has been approached from time to time by area contractors wanting to buy fill dirt. The latest instance was just last week, he said. He said the city wouldn't necessarily be interested in selling one load at a time, but in bulk to contractors who would then haul it out themselves.

The dirt would come from land the city owns along Doniphan Drive and would be sold by the cubic yard, which has a current average market value of $1 per yard, according to Hightower. The most recent offer was to buy 14,000 cubic yards, he said.

“That's $14,000 that we might use,” Hightower said.

City Attorney Steve Hays said the situation was unique in that the city would be selling dirt, but not land. He said the amount of cubic yards that could be sold, and its total value, needed to be calculated first.

“We need to find out how much dirt can be expended by the city without resulting in some sort of vault where at some point the city would have to buy dirt to put back in,” Hays said.

He advised that a council-approved document stating how many cubic yards per land area could be sold, and at what price, would be better than simply giving blanket verbal permission to city hall to sell dirt.

Asked by Councilwoman Heather Bowers about possible rules governing watershed impact, Hightower said that a state land disturbance permit must be applied for if the digging exceeds one acre. He said 14,000 cubic yards would not surpass that, going down eight to nine feet deep.

Since the dirt would come from land purchased by economic development sales tax funds, Mayor Richard Davidson inquired if there would be restrictions on the proceeds from its sale. Added to that, the property is also under debt. Hays said it is an issue he would still have to look in to.

“We're not selling the land, we're not transferring title, we're selling dirt,” Hays said. “So it's quite unique.”
Also on Thursday, the council:

Approved, 4-0, a contract with Allgeier Martin and Associates for professional engineering services for the bike and pedestrian trail project that will link Spring Street with McKinney Street. According to the contract, cost of engineering design services shall not exceed $14,680, 80 percent of which will be paid via a grant administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation, with the remaining 20 percent covered by the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation, Inc. (NABIFI).  Approved, 4-0, expending Economic Development Sales Tax funds to increase the size of a water line extension to Landes Trucking on Doniphan Drive from a six-inch to an eight-inch line, to allow for future expansion and development. The difference is estimated not to exceed $6,000.  Approved, 4-0, on final reading, amending the fiscal year budget by appropriating to the Community Development Project Fund $291,444.38, the unspent balance of a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development for acquisition and demolition of blighted property on Spring Street.  Approved, 4-0, on final reading, appropriating to the Community Development Project Fund unspent Missouri Development Finance Board funds in the amount of $306,246.04.  Approved, 4-0, a contract with Neal Group Construction, Joplin, in the amount of $30,850 for asbestos abatement at the city-owned former First Baptist Church building at 201 S. Jefferson Street.  Approved, 4-0, a contract with Neal Group Construction, Joplin, in the amount of $14,900 for asbestos abatement at the vacant buildings at 220 and 210 E. Spring St.  Approved, 4-0, on final reading, amending the fiscal year budget to appropriate donations of $2,499.96 and $2,499.97 into the police department budget and the fire sales tax fund respectively. n Approved, 3-1, Councilwoman Heather Bowers dissenting, amending an electric service agreement with Empire District Electric to replace one light at the intersection of La-Z-Boy Drive and Wood Street.  Announced vacancies that exist on the airport industrial development board, the board of appeals, the parks and recreation board and the board of appeals-dangerous buildings and structures. If interested in serving on any of these boards, contact City Clerk Nora Houdyshell at 451-8050.