Thwarting crime in two separate areas of Neosho was brought forward under the visitors business portion of Tuesday's Neosho City Council meeting.

Thwarting crime in two separate areas of Neosho was brought forward under the visitors business portion of Tuesday's Neosho City Council meeting.

Earl Heathman and Shelia Stuart both addressed the council in turn regarding safety in the Garland Douglas Drive neighborhood on the east side of town. Heathman said there has been an upswing of crime in the area since the closure of the railroad crossing at east Daugherty Road. He said there have been vehicle break-ins and even motorcycle thefts in the area, as it is more secluded now. He said a local neighborhood watch group has been created in response, and he asked that the city provide neighborhood watch signs, as well as children at play signs and speed limit signs. He also requested more street lighting in that neighborhood.

While Heathman said police patrols have picked up in that area, he asked that these be increased between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., after school lets out for the day, as he said that vehicles often speed up and down Garland Douglas Drive because it is the only flat street in the neighborhood.

"It has been a longtime issue," Heathman said.

Stuart agreed.

"It has been real bad there," she said. "Tires have been slashed. I know that the police can't always be there, but any help would be appreciated. I have kids, and people just come flying down the street. There aren't even speed limit signs or anything there anymore."

Mayor Richard Davidson asked city manager Troy Royer to see about getting them some neighborhood watch signs, as well as look into the other issues brought up.

Next to speak was Charles Gray, who asked that the city close off certain side streets at the Newton County Fairgrounds because of ongoing thefts and vandalism there, and for insurance reasons. He said thieves have stolen two air conditioning units and also ripped wiring out of some of the barns at the fairgrounds.

"It's kind of hard to keep the fairgrounds up when we have people come in and steal stuff," Gray said. "We're trying to keep our insurance down and secure the area."

The fairgrounds have also fallen prey to vandalism in the past couple of years.

Gray said he has already spoken with the fire department about which streets could be closed off. Davidson said that if there are no safety or service issues the council could vote at its next meeting on blocking off certain streets that run through or next to the fairground.

He noted that his business, Marco Group, was also broken into recently.

"It is a problem because people are stealing things and taking things to scrap yards and getting money," Davidson said. "It's a problem not just in your area, but in the industrial park in general. People are out there at night and continuing to do bad things. We are absolutely committed to the safety of the citizens and their property in this town, so we'll see what ideas we have internally and we'll do whatever we've got to do to help that problem and try to eliminate some of that traffic going through that fairground."

For previous city council meeting coverage this week, see Wednesday, Sept 5, and Thursday, Sept. 6 editions of the Daily News.

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In other business Tuesday, the council:

• Approved on final reading amending this fiscal year budget to reflect revenues and expenditures for the design phase of the airport lighting improvement project, at a cost of $58,689. The Missouri Department of Transportation is funding 95 percent of this phase.

• Approved two separate bills amending this fiscal year's budget to reflect revenues and expenditures in the general fund (police department) and the hotel/motel tax respectively (fall festival). See below.

• Approved a total payment of $31,855.80 to the Newton County Sheriff's Department for prisoner board for the 2011 calendar year and 2012 year to date. Historically, the city has paid the prisoner board billings one year in arrears, i.e. from the previous year. However, the city will now begin paying the county on a monthly basis for prisoner board.
• Approved an agreement with Maccaroo Gym to provide free inflatable rides at the Oct. 6 Neosho Fall Festival at a cost to the city of $3,330, payable out of the hotel/motel tax.

• Approved a consent to mortgage leasehold interest agreement with Waste Corporation of Missouri for the city transfer station, which WCA leases. This doesn't affect the lease amount or terms of the agreement. Following a debt refinancing,WCA needs to obtain landlord consents on leased properties.

• Approved a no-cost distribution agreement with Hometown Productions for free city maps to distribute at city hall.

• Approved certification of the annual LAGERS meeting delegate, city human resources manager Pam Baker.

• Appointed Michael Mitchell to the Parks Recreation and Golf Course Board.

• Announced vacancies that exist on the board of adjustments-zoning, board of appeals, economic development sales tax committee, parks recreation and golf course board and planning and zoning commission. If interested in serving on any of these advisory committees, call City Clerk Nora Houdyshell at 451-8050 for details.