The Newport City Council Monday night decided that Rogue Ales, paying only three out of seven years of back taxes on their upstairs motel rooms on the Bayfront, is okay. The city council agreed with Rogue that city laws allow back-taxes to be paid but only going back three years. It’s in the city code. Rogue, however, donated a considerable sum of money to improve the Newport Skate Park on High Street as “further compensation” to the city. Rogue’s excuse for not paying the room taxes was that they “didn’t know” they had to pay them since the rooms were above their facility on the Bayfront. Rogue promises to pay their room taxes promptly going forward. Looks like case closed.
The City Council also gave their approval to allow Newport Police drug-sniffing dogs to circulate through local public schools to ensure that no drugs get into the hands of their students – at least while they’re at school.
The City Council gave their blessing to allow multi-floor vacation rentals where zoning allows for it – in this case off Cliff Street – so VRDs will be available at ground level and as well as on the floors above as long as local zoning codes allow it. Some other details had to be worked out so the city planning commission will have another “go at it” and bring the issue back to the City Council for further review.
The City Council agreed to align with a new state law taking effect January 1st, that eliminates most in-store plastic shopping bags. Flimsier plastic bags can still be used for bagging fragile vegetables and other appropriate products.
And, finally, City Councilor Ryan Parker was voted unanimously by the council to take over the Council President job from Councilor David Allen who held that honor for all of 2019. Councilor Parker will act as the presiding officer of the council when the Mayor is absent. Parker’s presidential term ends January 1st, 2021.