The Newport City Council made it official Monday night – no panhandling on Newport city streets involving cars and people in the road or from the sidewalk. If somebody wants to give a pandhandler some money, they have to pull off into a parking lot or park nearby. Those who violate this new law could be subject to a $50 fine. Motorists have long complained about panhandlers hanging around signal lights and holding up traffic while asking for food money. At North 21st and 101 and 101 at Highway 20, especially.
The council also agreed to let Pacific Seafood processing buy a few motels in Newport and turn them in to long term rentals for their workers. Those workers have been having a devil of a time finding a place to live for the 6 to 8 months they work in the fish plants down on the Bayfront.
Water and sewer rates are going up in Newport. Higher rates will kick in December and climb a bit over the next five years in order for the city to keep up with maintenance requirements on the town’s sewer and water systems. The higher rates vary depending on how much water is used and whether you’re living in a house or you own a business. It’s a lot higher if you own a business. Residential rates will rise between 20 to 50 dollars a month over the next four years. Lots higher for businesses.
Water and sewer residential customers who are low income – no more than 60% of local median income – can get a 30% reduction in their bills but they have to fill out paperwork down at City Hall to get the discount.
And finally, the city council applied for a grant from the state to help design a new dam on Big Creek, the source of Newport and vicinity’s water supply. The four million dollar grant would help pay for the design of a new dam that would be a lot more earthquake resistant. Both dams on Big Creek have been determined to not be strong enough to weather a strong shaker like Cascadia Subduction Zone quakes.