Approval of a new fireworks vendor for Celebrate Neosho 2019 was on the agenda when the Neosho City Council met in regular session on Tuesday. Paul Richardson, Public Relations Director and Events Coordinator for the city, requested the change.

Celebrate Neosho is held on the last Saturday in June each year, allowing area residents to attend other events held to mark the Fourth of July. Although the city has used the same fireworks vendor for the past few years, Richardson recommended that council approve the bid from Riverside Fireworks in the amount of $10,000.

According to Richardson, the 2018 show did not yield the anticipated show and numerous negative comments were received from the community. Six vendors turned in bids to put on a show lasting approximately 20 minutes with a priority for a variety of shell bursts, length of show and avoidance of black sky. The bid from Riverside Fireworks, Neosho, was approved by the council.

In an effort to track down the long term water leaks that have plagued the city, council members also approved a bid for a water leak detection correlater and ground listening device. The equipment will be utilized by the Public Works department to pinpoint leaks that have failed to reach the surface. Two bids were received, the first from Pollardwater Digicorr for $24,955,000.00 and a second from Subsurface Solutions in the amount of $28,577.75. City staff recommended the high bid, based on recommendations from the leak detector specialist used in the past and because the FCS brand is an industry leader. Although the item was not budgeted for fiscal year 2019, staff feels that the equipment is a higher priority than a pole barn budgeted for $30,000 for the Public Works department.

Council members also voted to approve a purchase of meters and radio transmitters to finish the ongoing Meter Replacement program for residential and small business customers.

In new business, a informational presentation was made by Tri-State Water Coalition. Gail Melgren, executive director of Southwest Missouri Regional Water made the presentation. The coalition consists of 20 communities in 16 counties, currently including Joplin, Carthage and Lamar. Their goal is to work toward a long-term water supply working in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The coalition proposes a pipeline from Stockton Lake and possibly Table Rock Lake.

"We're not going to run out of water tomorrow or next week, but eventually with growth if we don't do anything then eventually in the summer in a drought, there wouldn't be enough supply,” Melgren said. No action was taken by council at this time although in the future City Manager Leland Butcher along with some council members may attend a meeting of the coalition to hear more about the long term water supply situation in the area. A vote to approve maintaining the static display of an aircraft, at the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport on loan to the city from the United States Air Force, be renewed through a contract. In future meetings, the council will consider action about proposed downtown dumpsters, which were discussed on Tuesday.

Additional information will be brought back to council regarding amendments to the city code for a joint land use study between the Army National Guard and the City of Neosho. The code is designed to establish a military compatibility area in the area adjacent to Camp Crowder, which remains an active National Guard base. The priority is to protect the safety as well as quality of life for future residents in the area along with employees both in the surrounding area and on base.

On first reading, the council approved an increase in fees for pool parties and use of the dunk tank. This is the first increase requested in years, if ever. The reasons are cited as to cover costs, the increased in minimum wage, and to be competitive in the area. New rates, after final approval, will be $200 for a two-hour pool party with concessions if desired and the dunk tank, trailer included with rent for $50 per day. If the renter wants, the Neosho Fire Department can fill the tank for no additional charge.

The Neosho City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Neosho City Hall, located on the southeast corner of the Neosho square.