2018-05-31 / Around Town

Public Hearing on Budget Announced

By Leif Walcutt

After the citizen’s forum at the May 23 Newport City Council meeting, a public hearing for the biennial budget for the fiscal year 2019 was announced for May 30. “This council is just receiving the budget. We’re not intimate with all the details of [it],” said Mayor Harry Winthrop.

The total general fund budget for 2017-2018 came to $97,003,290, a 2.47 percent increase from the adopted 2016-2017 budget of $94,666,615.

Hank Kniskern, a Newport resident, spoke in favor of continuing funding for educational opportunities in Newport. “Last year you helped us with a $700,000 allotment to get computers in the schools,” he said. Kniskern thanked the council, saying that the budget implementation “paid off” and favored similar funding in the upcoming budget.

All items were unanimously passed on the consent calendar, including approval for events for the Newport Hospital Summer Celebration fundraiser on July 12, Potter League for Animals “Yappy Hour Fundraiser” on July 15 and the Newport Brokerage Boat Show on September 13-16.

Councilor Kate Leonard raised concerns that Bike Newport’s “Elliot’s Ride for Everyone” on June 10, which begins and ends at Fort Adams State Park, would cause a disruption to traffic. “Do we anticipate any street closings, and how will the traffic be handled?” she asked.

Bari Freeman, executive director of Bike Newport, said there would be three police officers on detail. “There are no street closings. The streets were not closed last year,” she said. The motion was approved by the council.

The other special item discussed in the consent calendar was also bicycle-related. It concerned a communication from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission’s recommendation regarding bike share programs.

A request was made in January to discuss a bike share program in Newport. “There are a number of companies looking to do business in the city and this is a comprehensive set of recommendations,” Councilor Jamie Bova said.

The recommendation included how to rent public land for bike share usage.

In other matters

•Licenses and permits approved by the council included a renewal of the sidewalk cafe license for the Hungry Monkey, and victualing licenses for Harvest, Planet Clean Eats, Karma Pizza Company and The Breaker’s Welcome Center.

•One ordinance was approved by the council, amending Chapter 10.32.110 “Designated Residential Parking Streets” to add 24-hour residential sticker parking to Dennison Street.

•The Fourth of July fireworks display was awarded to Pyrotecnico Fireworks.

•The Department of Public Services recommended grant execution for the 2018 RIDEM Recreation Grants to the City of Newport to receive $100,000 to install a restroom building at Miantonomi Memorial Park and $180,000 to renovate the Vernon Park tennis courts. A bid award of $765,659 was given to the lowest qualified bidders (eight vendors in total) for the purchase of utilities supplies for the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

•The council voted to inform the RI Coastal Resources Management Council that the city has no objection to a project by Scott’s Wharf to fill an existing boat ramp and associated tidal water to construct a stormwater treatment facility to treat storm runoff for future redevelopment. A representative for Scott’s Wharf said construction would begin in the fall.

•Donna Lennox and Barbara Peters were appointed to the Cliff Walk Commission and to the Newport Hospitality Commission, respectively.

•Convening as board of license commissioners, the council voted to approve a daily liquor license to the Newport Restoration Foundation for its “Party Like It’s 1968 Lawn Party” on July 11.

•Recommendations that liquor licenses at Slippery Slope Spirits and The Pier Restaurant should not be suspended or revoked (or a fine imposed) for apparent violations of the Rules and Regulations of the Liquor Control Section of the RI Department of Business Regulation and/or the Rules and Regulations of the Board of License Commissioners of the City of Newport was moved to the June 13 City Council meeting.

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