Neosho City Council will receive consultation with a Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer Tuesday as that board considers the acceptance of roads constructed by the Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD).

Neosho City Council will receive consultation with a Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer Tuesday as that board considers the acceptance of roads constructed by the Neosho Transportation Development District (TDD).
Andy Mueller of MoDOT will appear before council to answer questions regarding council concerns about the new roadways before accepting them into the city's inventory, after repairs to two of those new roadways were necessitated less than a year after their construction.
Council discussed the issue at length at its Oct. 4 meeting after City Manager Troy Royer reported MoDOT is not open to council's idea of acquiring core samples of all the TDD roads to ensure their integrity before the city takes over responsibility for the new pavement in perpetuity.
"He didn't see where it would do any good to go in there and core sample," Royer apprised council. "He didn't feel like it was a base issue or sub-base, he felt like it was just the adhesion of asphalt to it. I don't know that we particularly agree with that."
Mueller indicated to Royer that the TTD was to start putting maintenance money in escrow every year once the roads are accepted by the city. "That's what that maintenance money is for is for us to take care of the roads once we accept those," he continued. "To me that was for future maintenance seven to 10 years down the road, and to let that fund build up for when we do have to do major overlays and stuff for that section."
The city currently spends more than a half-million dollars annually resurfacing roadways, and Royer said he would hate to see the city accept the roads and then have additional issues pop up that need to be corrected. Though MoDOT is hesitant to allow core samples to help provide a measure of confidence on the shape on the new roads, he said the ball is in the city's court.
"Because it's up to us, they want us to accept them and it's up to us to accept them," Royer asserted. "I do believe there's some contract things we need to work out, too, with issues in the past we've had with reimbursements. I don't believe it's clear in the contract on how that should work, and I'm afraid that in the future the way the contract is worded it's too vague and it gives too much power to the TDD to approve those expenses. I would just hate to see us come up into a situation like with the ditch (Waldo Hatler Drive) where we tried to be proactive and work with them and get something done quickly and we kind of got the shaft in the end. I would just hate to see that in the future."
Councilman Ben Baker noted that some property owners have expressed drainage issues that have not been addressed, and cautioned against accepting the roads with "pre-existing" conditions. He compared the situation to buying home and ensuring that existing problems be addressed before completing the transaction.
"I liken this to forgoing a home inspection," Mayor Charles Collinsworth interjected. "They are wanting us to take on - right now those liabilities belong to the TDD — those flooding problems belong to the TDD — they're asking us to take that off from them without, quote-unquote, a home inspection."
Pure gold fears no fire, as Collinsworth said fire cooks out any impurities. "I want to see a core sampling of this road," he demanded. "And if I don't see it I have no desire to make that a liability to the city."
Councilman Richard Davidson added the TDD challenged the bill for city efforts to address safety issues on the TDD project on the ditch on Waldo Hatler Drive at Hale McGinty Drive after the fact, and indicated that they could get the job done cheaper by someone else. The citizens of Neosho ended up bearing some of the cost of fixing that ditch, which Davidson said was a result of the TDD's work that needed re-working.
"My fear is, similar to the cost overruns on The Civic, issues we had with poor management here years ago, that the citizens of Neosho are going to be the ones bearing the cost of these repairs if we don't negotiate this up front and in advance," Davidson advised. "And at some point this council will have to deal with that in the future. And to quote a man who used to be with MoDOT but is now with the city of Joplin, 'He that has the gold makes the rules;' right now the city of Neosho seems to be a pretty good bargaining position. Now I don't want to use that as leverage, but the point is, we've seen past actions of the TDD, we've seen how they behaved, their behavior is what has us concerned about the future and we need reassurances - not for ourselves but for the taxpayers of Neosho - that they are not going to be the ones holding the bag if something goes wrong."
Collinsworth implied the responsibility is firmly on the TDD, and he is is no hurry to accept the TDD roads until assured it is a good thing for the people of Neosho.
Without ownership of those roads, Royer advised the city will not plow the roads for snow.
When contacted, TDD board president indicated they have had discussions with MoDOT about clearing TDD roads of winter weather, and that will be taken care of.
Another concern expressed by city officials was addressed during the TDD board meeting Thursday (See related story), as Davidson noted he has received many calls from citizens about Kodiak Road, which is outside the city, and remains in a half-completed state. The TDD announced in early September that asphalt would be laid to complete the project within a couple of weeks, and in early October it remain unfinished and construction equipment had been moved from the site.