Finally got it running, here is what I did:
-cleaned the battery terminals and attaching hardware.
-charged the battery with de-sulfide microprocessor charging system.
-cleaned all the grounds in the engine bay, including the headlight grounds.
-swapped in a know good coil pack.
-disconnected the VSS to rule it out as a potential fault, then reconnected it.
-removed and thoroughly cleaned the throttle body (T/B), including the throttle position sensor and air input control sensor, then re-installed.
-removed the paper air filter element as it was damp.
1) after cleaning the battery seemed to respond better to charging but couldn't hold a charge high enough to sufficiently crank.
2) after de-suldfide charging, i determined the battery was unsuitable for use.
3) after cleaning the engine bay grounds and the T/B it reluctantly started with starter fluid.
Since then I have changed the spark plugs, cleaned the coil pack terminals and added dielectric grease, performed an oil change to 5w30 synthetic with a PH8 oil filter. It is running pretty nice but needs fresh fuel, the fuel in it is at least 7 months old. I have devised a Cold Air Intake system and am incorporating a 52 mm T/B from a 98 Automatic Neon in the morning.
The belt looks OK but I am going to replace the timing belt/water pump and tensioner as a preventative measure, since I don't know how long they have been on this 98 Plymouth Neon Expresso. After fixing it the owner sold it to me.