NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — Three legal cases involving the Newton County Commission are making their way through the courts, even as those bills start to pile up.
The Newton County Commission is working a plan to upgrade court facilities. Just the latest step — something that’s due at the end of the week.
“And we certainly want to comply in every way uh to accomodate that 4th judge. And we’ve uh put a good faith effort forward but it just hasn’t panned out for any of us,” said Bill Reiboldt, Newton Co. Comm.
The first lawsuit involves the use of the historic courtroom in the Newton County courthouse. The judge ruled the County Commission can continue to use it as office space — but must also provide facilities for the County’s 4th judge who doesn’t currently have a full time courtroom… as well as court operations in general.
“I believe the judge ruled that they’re not adequate so we’re going to uh do everything within our power to, to make it uh usable as the judge has dictated,” he said.
So far, that case has cost the county more than $25,000.
Another $18,000 has been spent arguing payments to the City of Neosho connected to the tax increment financing or TIF district.
Attorneys for the City say regular payments stopped in 2015 — and the County and City have yet to come to terms on what, if anything is owed to the City.
“There will be a motion on all the parties pending motions on Monday April 25th at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Crane in the Joplin Courthouse,” said David Streubel, Attorney for Neosho.
The third case pitts the Commission against the County Treasurer and Recorder of Deeds.
Commissioners had hired Stronghold Data to handle cybersecurity for all County operations. But the Treasurer and Recorder of Deeds already had hired their own IT staff… and filed a petition.
There’s no total cost yet in the ongoing case, which at this point has cost Newton County $137,000.