I have been following this story for awhile... Neosho is 13 miles from where I live and I suspect Neosho may be a good representation of what many towns, cities, counties and states are going through right now...
So far Neosho's proposed answers to it's financial 'problems' has been focused the most on BORROWING MORE MONEY (1.3 million dollars recently) and now they are seeking to have, you guessed it, the TAX PAYER come up with the money to bail them out!
Just as our federal government, our banking system, our insurance industry have expected the TAX PAYER to bail them out so now every mis-managed town, city, county and state in the nation is looking to raise taxes.
This "recession"/"depression" has not ended.. it has only just begun... IMO
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Source: The Joplin Globe | May 6, 2010
May 5, 2010 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) -- NEOSHO, Mo. -- The Neosho City Council will be seeking residents' views during a special meeting tonight when it begins working toward a decision on, among other tough subjects, just how much of a property tax to ask voters to authorize.
The council faces shoring up what could be as much as a $1.3 million gap between operating revenues and expenses.
A special meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. today at City Hall. The council is expected to take steps toward specifying the ballot language for a tax measure that would have to be approved by May 25 in order to go before voters during the primary election in August.
Mayor Richard Davidson said the meeting will be open for public comment, including a potential sunset for the property tax.
"I don't suspect there will be final draft and first-reading vote (tonight)," Davidson said. "I suspect there will be several meetings between now and May 25 to make sure that language is the best it can be given the information we have."
That information likely will include an updated cash-flow analysis. The council on Tuesday night approved a contract with Mense, Churchwell and Mense of Joplin to review the city's finances and determine the potential difference between revenues and expenses.
"The details of the budget shortfall are going to be more clear as we work through the cash-flow analysis the council approved (Tuesday) night," Davidson said. "That will give us a true indication of the budget shortfall we can expect in the near future."
The analysis work will not start until Friday, so it will be at least next week before officials will be able to estimate just how much of a levy might be needed.
The preliminary proposal allows for the city to ask for a property tax of up to $1 per $100 of assessed valuation.
For a $100,000 home, residents would be looking at a yearly tax of $190, at a $1 levy. For a $100,000 business, owners would pay $320 per year at the $1 rate.
Officials have said the city faces three options: assessing a property tax at a level high enough to compensate for the gap between current revenues and anticipated expenses; cutting expenses enough to compensate for the gap; or compensating for the gap via a combination of a property tax of something less than $1 and some additional cuts in expenses.
For business owners like Kathy Moore, the property tax could be another hit to the bottom line.
"It would hurt me," said Moore, the owner of Charley's Grill. "I don't live in Neosho, but I'm going to be affected by it. Right now, things are just tight."
Another business owner, Angie Clayton, said she could support a levy of less than $1.
"It would be easier to choke down," said Clayton, who owns Angelique's Perfumery. "I wouldn't vote for the dollar. But if they lowered the amount, you know, everybody's got to pitch in somewhere."
Davidson said he understands the frustration of residents, many of whom have said they blame previous city leadership for poor oversight and bad policies leading to the current financial crunch.
"I can't disagree with those opinions, but the situation we have before us is a situation that the council needs to address," he said. "We can address it with an increase of revenue, a reduction of expenses or a combination thereof. We can't undo the spending or the policies of former councils that put us in this position."
Davidson said the budget shortfall is "significant," close to what the city budgets for the police or fire departments.
"I'm not suggesting we cut the police or fire departments, but it shows you that you can't cut a few positions at City Hall or the parks department to make up that shortfall," he said. "A cut that size would be devastating to the city of Neosho."
The previous City Council approved borrowing $1.3 million earlier this year to plug the gap between revenues and expenses for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. A table in the financial plan suggests that the city could generate about $1.26 million annually with a $1 property tax rate.
Simply unbelievable... God help us all...