The Newport City Council has begun review of their 2019 budget, which includes funds for some building improvements to the fire and police departments.
Mayor David Stewart told the Council that a preliminary bid for $135,000 was in the budget to do work on Station 2 on Second Street. The bid includes heating for the bay and redoing the inside of the building, which is very aged and in disrepair. The Council discussed pricing for insulated doors on the bay, which currently has one electric and non-electric doors.
While the mayor expressed a desire to build a new facility, the remodeling will suffice as long as things are brought up to date to be aesthetically pleasing as well as well-functioning and comfortable for the firefighters who live at the base 24 hours a day. The roof was recently replaced which corrected all of the water issues.
Newport Economic Development Executive Director Jon Chadwell addressed the Council with his budget. He reported that his administrative staff received a three percent raise, still making less than other offices with comparable responsibilities. There is a line item that he addressed for a possible part-time employee during the summer which will be based solely on donation. Chadwell explained that during the summer events his staff worked so many hours that they had weeks to take off. With the employment of a part-time assistant, they will be able to relieve some of the responsibilities and not get behind in the regular office operation.
The Council reviewed the Airport Commission budget with no problems. One alderman confessed he wouldn’t know what questions to ask as they were unaware of what the commission does. Mayor Stewart commented, “They have done a tremendous amount of difference in the last 10 years and funded it all in an innovative way I never would have thought of. It’s really nice.” According to the mayor, the commission applies for big grants and gets them. Several large operations have been done in the last few years including remodeling the visiting area, creating a large board room, extending the runway, and installing new lights.
The Mayor foresees a small increase in sanitation as it’s been eight years since the last increase. He plans for January for the increase. While an increase has been discussed in the past, it’s been pushed back, but costs have changed so much with the addition of garbage and leaf trucks, it’s necessary for operation.
The Council will be reviewing the budget and meets again Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.