Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. My week has flown by. Work and family have kept me very busy. I’m ready for the weekend (despite the forecast for rain and thunderstorms tomorrow!)

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. My week has flown by. Work and family have kept me very busy. I’m ready for the weekend (despite the forecast for rain and thunderstorms tomorrow!)
Being a finance guy by degree and a business owner (my undergraduate degree from Missouri Southern was in Economics and Finance), I do a significant amount of work with numbers and spreadsheets. One sheet that I update every month (and have since April of 2009) is a monthly tracking of the city’s 1% sales tax revenues. I used these numbers to prepare for every town hall I held during my time as your mayor and I look at them every month to help assess how our city is doing financially. As the final weeks of my final term wind down, I thought I’d give you a recap of just how far your city has come since I began my service to you in April of2009.
Let me start by saying that the city’s 1 percent general sales tax revenue is but one of several revenue sources for thecity. But its year-over- year comparisons provide a good barometer of economic growth in our community.Your finance director, Daphne Pevahouse, and I both focus heavily on these numbers. I’ll also add the state ofMissouri does a less-than- stellar job of being timely on their payments to local municipalities. While they expect citizens and businesses to be on time with tax payments owed to the state (and penalize us severely if we’re late), they have virtually no penalty if they fail to remit the taxes they collect on our behalf back to the city. That means that making monthly revenue comparisons between years isn’t very helpful. My numbers are based on yearly totals to help offset the state’s inconsistent payment history.
I can tell you that the city’s overall revenue growth rate for the last 9 years has averaged just under 2.5 percent. While that may not seem exciting, it’s very much in line with what Neosho has seen historically. My numbers only go back to 2002, but over that 16-year mark, the average is about 2.9 percent. But there are some very interesting trends in recent years that shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you use 2010 as the basis for comparison (2010 is when we hit rock bottom as a city after the financial mess of Jan Blase), our city’s growth rate is much more robust. That growth rate comes in at an impressive 4.49 percent.
If you look at the last four years, our growth rate hit almost 5.1%. 2015 as a year had the best annual revenue growth the city has seen anytime this century – 10.7%. I tell you this to reemphasize how important it is to see our city grow. And while some haven’t agreed with your council’s “economic policies” over the last several years (e.g. saying “no” to spec buildings and corporate giveaways and prioritizing public safety and improvements), I’d tell you to look, not at the process and the
decisions, but the results. Despite predictions of doom and gloom when the city council fundamentally changed the way it approached governing, it has seen just the opposite of those predictions.
I’ll be the first to admit the city has very little to take credit for in terms of directly causing that growth, but its leaders put in place a government that was more business-friendly, more citizen-focused, and certainly more fiscally responsible. I believe that foundation gave people a level of trust and confidence that Neosho was on solid path of growth with a city government that was looking out for all of our community. That trust and confidence has translated to mean strong growth and sizable investment – the numbers show it! I’m proud to have been a part of this transformation over the past 9 years. I can say without a doubt that I’ll be leaving the city better than I found it. I consider that a success – not for me – but for all of us who call Neosho home.
Until next time: stay the course, keep the faith, and yay God continue to bless Neosho!

Neosho City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Davidson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.