Newport City Council: VAC future, compostables at the curb and $100K up for grabs on tourism facilities
The future of the Visual Arts Center, whether Newport creates compostables pickup at the curb and where the last of a million dollar convention center fund will wind up, are all on the table for tonight’s city council meeting which begins at 6pm at city hall.
The city council will once again agonize over the city’s proper role in the arts community by trying to reduce the amount of money the city puts into the Visual Arts Center. The VAC was created long ago when economic times were very different from what they are today. Today there is much more competition for city funds – the loudest competitor being the repair and replacement of the town’s water, sewer and storm drain lines. City Manager Spencer Nebel will recommend that basic financial support for the VAC continue but to single out the more expensive operation and maintenance factors that could be considered the responsibility of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts – the VAC’s biggest booster. Nebel is asking the council to approve an approach that entails the OCCA and the city working together to produce a final set of recommendations on cost sharing by December.
The issue of whether Newport is ready to get into the compost business with Thompson Sanitary is also up this evening. The issue has been hotly debated in previous council meetings with some citizens wanting no part of it due to its potential higher cost to ratepayers and the fact that so many citizens already compost their own food waste and woody debris. Others, including Thompson Sanitary contend that most residents do not compost – yet composting is the wave of the future. They say that filling up landfills with food waste and woody debris is wasteful. On top of that, having to create ever more landfills is extremely expensive. Some citizens want the right to not participate in any compostables pickup service, but Thompson says full participation should be the norm because garbage collection is one of those services where costs are lower the more people use it.
And finally the council will be trying to figure out how to divide up the last remnants of a million dollar fund that was aimed at building a new Newport Convention Center. The idea of such a facility collapsed some time ago, leaving the fund to be chopped up into mini-tourism projects. Tonight’s decision involves figuring out how to evaluate applications for dispersing the fund’s last $100,000. It’s expected those evaluations will begin in earnest sometime in May.