At the regular monthly meeting of the Neosho City Council, a ordinance proposed last month to declare 9 weapons in use by the Neosho Police Department as surplus property was approved on final reading.

Neosho Police Chief David Kennedy appeared before the council.

The nine weapons included 5 Colt 9 mm rifles and 4 5.56 rifles.

With these items declared as surplus, the City Council accepted a proposal from Black Rain Ordnance of Neosho to provide the Neosho Police Department with a total of 27 new Black Rain Ordnance semi-automatic 9mm short barreled patrol rifles. Each rifle is equipped with three 33-round Glock magazines, single point slings and a soft-sided carrying case. Each rifle costs $999 for a total of

427,973.00. In a letter earlier shared with council last month, Black Rain offered to provide the rifle package for $5,000 with a trade-in of 9 rifles from the Neosho Police Department.

At no additional charge, Black rain Ordnance offered to provide certified factory training upon delivery of the firearms, to include classroom and range time to discuss proper safety, cleaning and maintenance procedures. Repair work, if needed, is included for no additional charge under Black Rain's complete lifetime warranty program.

The council approved the both the surplus property ordinance and the sale of the rifles for use by the Neosho Police Department.

In other business, bids were accepted for a ladder truck for the Neosho Fire Department, for a phone system for the city, a firewall system for city IT, and for a chip and seal project on Highway 59 south of Neosho.

Three personnel budget amendments were approved on second and final reading by council members.

The first increased salary and benefits for a new building inspector who was hired at $40,000 per year, an increase in salary and benefits of $2,221 per year. The new Human Resources director was hired with an annual salary of $52,000. The previous HR director earned $47.975 per year so the increase in salary and benefits totaled $4,631 annually. An HR generalist was hired at $32,590 per year, an increase of $10, 374.00 over the previous HR generalist salary of $23,571.00.

Some council members expressed concern during discussion prior to the passing.

"I'm an old cop and volunteer fireman," Councilman William Doubek said. "With this raise, we're starting her out at more than a fireman, almost as much as a law enforcement officer who puts his life on the line daily."

Councilman Tom Workman also said, "Bumping that much more in the middle of a budget year is a concern. The main deal isn't the money, it's the experience."

"We should have had this discussion before we created the job," Mayor Jon Stephens said regarding the HR generalist position,

City Manager Leland Butcher defended the salary adjustments. "HR is one of your most important departments because we've neglected the position and it's cost the city a lot of money. I've talked with Jan (Janice Beckwith, HR) and she's been cleaning up a big mess. We do have a lot of clean-up. We're running fast now trying to keep up."

Since assuming the role of city manager last fall, Butcher has made several staff changes.

A hearing and first reading to annex property at Missouri Highway 86 and Kodiak Road into the city passed on first reading.

"There is a developer interested in investing a lot of money in the property if it comes into the city," Neosho resident and attorney David Sims told council. "It would generate excellent growth."

A number of proposed code changes were discussed with a hearing for each followed by a description of each. Several council members expressed concerns about projects currently underway and how it would affect those contractors. Council members decided to provide a six month period before the changes become official, which would take place with the new fiscal year on October 1.

Jill Cornett, of the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, presented information to council regarding an opportunity to apply for HUD (Housing and Urban Development) funding through a disaster recovery grant. Neosho qualifies as one of five zip codes in southern Missouri who were affected by the April 2017 flooding. Additional details and information will be provided in the future.

Present at the meeting were council members Angela Thomas, Tom Workman, Mayor Pro Tempore Jon Stephens, William Doubek and Carmin Allen. City Manager Leland Butcher, City Attorney Steve Hays, City Clerk Cheyenne Wright, Finance Director Daphne Pevahouse and Rachel Holcomb, Economic Development Director, Assistant City Manger and Public Relations Officer were also present.

The Neosho City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month in council chambers at Neosho City Hall, on the southeast corner of the historic downtown square.