As I dwell deeper into the inner working of the City of Neosho and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities facing the City of Neosho, one can become fixated on the challenges and weaknesses. The challenges and weaknesses are well documented and common knowledge. City Council and staff are working diligently to identify solutions to address the issues. However, the City also wants to focus on strengths and opportunities.

I believe the biggest strength of the city is the citizens and city employees. The love the citizens have for the City of Neosho you will never find in larger communities. The citizens are very civic minded and want the city to prosper. Likewise, the city possesses some of the most dedicated public servants that perform their duties to the best of their abilities with the limited resources available. For example, a large swath of the city woke up to no/low water pressure that forced schools to close and adversely affected citizens and business. Most folks don’t know that the water loss was due to a series of events that started the night of March 5th, when a semi tractor-trailer backed into a fire hydrant and ruptured the water main. Public Works crew worked through the night repairing the water main. The morning of March 7th, the city’s 20-inch main transmission has a significant leak, and again the Public Works Crews worked all day and into nigh repairing that line. When the Public Works started recharging the water line and filling the water towers. The water level in the water towers failed to rise, and Public Works immediately realized there was another leak. They worked throughout the night to find the source of the leak and found the source of the leak the morning of March 8th. The already exhausted crew continued to work and repair the water main and got back to providing water throughout the city. I want to personally take the time and recognize the herculean efforts of Public Works Director Nate Siler and all the Public Works employees. These city employees worked around the clock to located and make the necessary repairs, and their efforts are a true testament to their dedication to the City of Neosho.

The opportunities for the city, its citizens, businesses, civic organizations are endless. The business community, Grow Neosho, and the Chamber is very active in attracting new business and promoting the city. I believe an opportunity exists for the city to engage in collaborative efforts to increase economic development, promote Neosho, and grow the city responsibility. Another opportunity is reexamining how we as the city government provide core services to the community at large. All stakeholders need to be heard and have input on how the city provides theses core services. I have often said what we did twenty years ago may not be relevant today. The city will be holding strategic planning sessions starting in April where all stakeholder views and opinion can be shared with the city. To make a difference in your community and have your voice heard, you need to be involved. We understand the time commitment involved in attending these sessions and are thankful for those who will attend. As I have said, City Council and staff need your impute to address the future and improve the quality of life in Neosho.

-Leland Butcher is the City Manager of Neosho. He writes a bi-weekly City View column for the Neosho Daily News.