Newport This Week

Council Considers Stiffer Parking Fees

The Newport City Council is considering raising parking fees at various sections around the city.

“If we are going to be really aggressive, let’s make the hit meaningful and uncomfortable,” City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson Jr. said at the July 28 meeting.

Nicholson said a $40 ticket is “meaningless” to people, comparing it to the price of an expensive parking lot.

Parking restrictions have been put in place around Rejects Beach, and an increased police presence has led to more tickets being issued, he said. Nicholson said he would reveal a plan on Aug. 12 that will feature marked zones, with stiffer penalties for parking violators. Four different zones are being studied.

“I think we can nicely zone out the city based upon certain roadways,” he said.

He noted that the turnaround area at Easton’s Beach has been cordoned off, with other suggestions in the mix.

In another matter, frustrations continue to mount about the garbage being left at beaches and recreation areas.

“We will continue to stay ahead of it,” Nicholson said. “Trash is first and foremost on our minds.”

Nicholson said the city will deploy more trash bins around town, while cutting holes in some of the totes (residential-style trash carts) in the hope that people will stop depositing trash on top or around them.

Businesses are looking to participate in an Adopt-A-Bin program, he said, with applications online at the city website. Nicholson also said he had a long-term plan, including renegotiating a new waste contract with the “next generation of receptacles.”

In pandemic-related news, Nicholson has asked Gov. Gina Raimondo’s office for more disposable surgical masks. “We got 1,000 in July … then 2,000 more, which are now almost gone,” he said.

The most recent statewide COVID-19 case numbers show 119 positive tests on July 27, with 68 hospitalizations, down from 71 the previous day. Local numbers were not released, Nicholson said.

Nicholson also said he will be discussing with the council how local businesses can apply through the local Chamber of Commerce for $6 million in small business grants.

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