Fireworks discussed at length city council meeting

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

In the only meeting this month of the Neosho City Council, council members worked through a lengthy agenda that ranged from zoning issues to next summer's fireworks for Celebrate Neosho.

The first item on the agenda was the presentation of a grant from MIRMA to the city in the amount of $6,400. Patrick Bonnett, MIRMA representative, delivered the check, which will be used to purchase a sewer camera for the city's Public Works Department. .MIRMA is an incorporated association which establishes a protected group self-insurance program for its members.

A $392.47 donation was made by Russell Cellular, with the stipulation that the funds will be used for the Neosho IOOF Cemetery, which is now owned by the city. Katie Beal and Jaylen Simon were on hand to deliver the check, a result of a promotion effort by the cell phone provider.

The change from a 5 person to a 7 person council approved by voters in the November 3 General Election was approved unanimously and goes into effect. The upcoming April election will include voting for the two additional council members. Each ward of the city - which is basically the current precincts - will elect a council member and there will be two at large members as well. In order to serve on the council, prospective candidates must live within the Neosho city limits.

A proposal to adjust Golf Course fees to be across the board uniform and fair was also passed.

"The fees and packages currently offered are not consistent," Clint Dalbom, Neosho Parks Director, told the council. "We're seeking a system that will be fair to all users.

At a later date, exact fees will be set.

In other business, the council gave the nod to continuing to advertise on the electronic billboards located at Harmony Street and Neosho Boulevard as well as at Highway 50/59. The billboards are owned by Major Enterprises.

They approved a measure that will allow the Neosho Recycling Center to accept glass. The council also gave approval to continue with allowing the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA to operate the Neosho Municipal Swimming Pool in season. The Y managed the pool for the first time last summer.

"It worked out good for us," Dalbom said.

Variances in code were approved for Branco Enterprises of Neosho as they build additions to the Neosho Schools that were approved by voters earlier this year. The variances will move forward the construction of the new End Zone facility at Bob Anderson Stadium and a new performing arts center at Neosho High School as well as a tornado shelter for Benton Elementary. Construction on all projects should begin in early 2021.

The council also voted to accept a bid from Branco for the upgrade of current restrooms facilities at the Neosho Golf Course and to build an additional men's and women's restroom. The bid was $74,710, considerably less than the sole other bid submitted by Marion Construction, Neosho, for $111,564.

Bids for fireworks to be displayed at the 2021 Celebrate Neosho event next July were accepted. Staff direction was to accept a bid from Rainbow Fireworks but the measure was tabled so that last year's fireworks provider, Riverside Fireworks, could submit a bid. The company failed to make the deadline so the council voted to table the measure until they could submit a timely bid.

A question of exactly when Celebrate Neosho should take place was also discussed.

Mayor Carmin Allen has long wanted Neosho to celebrate on July 4.

"I would still like to have our fireworks on the Fourth of July," he sad. "I would like to celebrate on the day we're supposed to."

A proposal to limit off-street parking in residential areas for semi-trucks, tractor trailer rigs, trucks with more than two axles or trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight exceeding 15,000 pounds and another prohibiting the use of rail cars, semi trucks or shipping containers to be used ass storage or as living space were both tabled after a forty-minute discussion that grew heated at times.

Mayor Allen favored the proposed ordinances. "We need to protect our residential areas," he said, citing examples from his neighborhood.

Councilman Tom Workman, however, had an opposing point of view. "I'm thinking that we're starting on infringe of wha people can do on their own property," he stated. He referenced the fact that some

drivers bring their semi-trucks or trailers home for a short period of time. "I don't like interfering with people who are just trying to make a living."

An ordinance that would have ended any storage or living use of shipping containers or rail cars prompted Workman to note that Neosho's Largest Flowerbox is in fact a railroad car.

A debate over whether or not those who would like greater freedoms should choose country life outside the city limits ensued.

The council voted to table both proposals and work on a possible compromise.

The Neosho City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Neosho City Hall, located on the southeast corner of the Neosho Square.

They did not meet on November 3 due to the election.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m.