Feeling they did not get requested answers at Friday's Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD) board meeting, Neosho City Council Tuesday voted to postpone ownership acceptance of the conveyance of TDD roads built in 2015 to the city.

Feeling they did not get requested answers at Friday’s Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD) board meeting, Neosho City Council Tuesday voted to postpone ownership acceptance of the conveyance of TDD roads built in 2015 to the city.

Council tabled the issue at its June 7 meeting in order to receive clarification on the TDD’s interpretation of the cooperative agreement between the two entities regarding the maintenance of those roads by city crews and equipment and to investigate a drainage issue expressed by a resident within the TDD.

City Manager Troy Royer opened the discussion by reporting that the city’s engineering firm has taken a look at that property to determine a fix to the flooding, but has not yet provided a final report. TDD board chairman Steve Roark expressed surprise Friday that no one on the TDD was contacted about the problem, though Royer said the landowner had at first contacted the Missouri Department of Transportation which supervised TDD road construction, and she was told by MoDOT to contact the city.

Councilman Richard Davidson added that the city was first investigating to see if the problem was city related and, if so, they would rectify it without involving the TDD. He added that representatives of the TDD’s engineering firm had noted a flooding issue behind Kum & Go at Kodiak Road where they are working to make improvements this year and the two issues may turn out to be related.

Mayor Charles Collinsworth repeated Roark’s appeal that anyone with a problem within the TDD should contact the TDD board.

Regarding receiving clarifications from the TDD attorney on city maintenance of TDD roads, Davidson said he asked Friday if a bill submitted for more than $5,000 would be approved or if all bills over $5,000 would require a bid.

“And their response was, ‘The cooperative agreement is very clear, we don’t need a legal opinion and if your attorney wants a legal opinion he can go get it,”’ Davidson said. “That was where they left it. And I said the clarification is you said before anything over $5,000 requires a bid. We want to know if a maintenance bid comes in next year for snow removal that’s over $5,000 are you going to approve it or are you going to say you can’t pay it because it’s over $5,000.”

Collinsworth asked city attorney Steve Hays if he could be proactive by talking to TDD attorney Chris Williams.

“Because they seemed a bit confused on what we were asking for,” he said. “Because obviously the thing right at the heart of this discussion is the bill they are refusing to pay and we don’t want to get into another situation exactly like that. And they just kept repeating, ‘We understand what the cooperative agreement is and there needs to be no further discussion;’ and essentially they are still denying payment. So I would like for us to have some clarification.”

Royer noted the cooperative agreement does not address using city labor and that’s where the current problem originated as the city used labor on a correction to the TDD work at the Waldo Hatler Drive/Hale McGinty Drive intersection.

The city submitted an about $27,000 bill for that work which was first rejected by the TDD board, which then tendered an offer of $10,300. The city tabled TDD decisions at its June 7 meeting until Tuesday because of the uncertainties, and the TDD board voted to rescind their offer on Friday because it had not been accepted.

“It doesn’t address that if we use city labor,” Royer asserted. “It talks about bidding processes and that the board does the ability to accept or reject anything that we submit to them. So I feel like there needs to be some clarification on if we do use city labor or if we do an annual bid, is if we turn in the bill and we used city labor to do it and they don’t like the amount that we charge them for city labor, are they going to kick the bill back to us? Same with snow removal, we do all of our own snow removal.”

It was brought up at a TDD meeting about bidding out the mowing of ditches, and Royer said the city has its own ditch crews.

Davidson said that the city believes it knows what the cooperative agreement lines out, so for future council purposes it is the TDD’s interpretation that needs to be clarified.

Hays indicated he will see Williams at a city attorney conference in Branson the weekend before council’s July 19 meeting, and he can hold informal discussions with him to try to clarify the cooperative agreement.

While they can hold discussion, Hays said it would be up to the TDD to actually determine whether to get involved and pay their attorney to come to an official determination.

“And dependant on what his client tells him will determine whether or not he’s going to do it,” he continued.

To provide time to possibly hold those discussion and for Williams to then report to his client, Collinsworth’s motion to postpone action until Aug. 2 was approved.

As the city representative at last week’s TDD meeting, Davidson reported to his colleagues that the TDD voted to kill the Kodiak Road Phase-2 project extension to improve the road north of the Phase-1 stopping point of Waldo Hatler Drive/Norway Road to Maple Lane, which is just north of the entrance for the future Neosho Junior High School.

“Mr. Royer at that point had not yet completed his financial review, I think he’s very close on that now,” Davidson explained. “But the TDD did vote to kill that project, instead of waiting a few more days for us to get our financial review done they have voted to kill it. Their quote was, ‘The project is dead, for now.’”

Councilman Bill Doubek then asked, “Because the TDD terminated it, there’s no action we can take, there’s nothing we can do with it? It’s the TDD’s choice, not ours?”

Collinsworth answered, “It’s something we wanted to do. We were good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars to delay until we knew the financials. The desire was there on the part of council.”