A nearly four hour city council meeting Monday night at Newport City Hall tracked a myriad of issues from the idea of raising taxes for street and underground water and sewer line repairs, city building rehabilitation including City Hall, the recreation center, performing arts center as well as providing nighttime sleep areas for the homeless. Other facilities are on the list. To be sure, all of that is in the planning stages because Newport’s local economy resembles the rest of the country. And they’re all trying to lift up their communities.
City Councilors Monday evening reminded each other that a gigantic federal government rescue fund of nearly Two Trillion Dollars is beginning to flow from Washington DC to the four corners of our country. And President Biden is far from done in terms of putting federal funds to work for everyone from sea to shining sea – that is as long as the democrats hold the majority of votes between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Only 1 vote separates the two chambers – Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie breaker in favor of the Democratic Party – the thinnest of congressional majorities. We’ll see how they do in the 2022 November general election.
On another political front, several city councilors (only symbolically) ran the American flag up the pole outside City Hall…on behalf of a notion that city councilors should receive a stipend ($$) for being city councilors. The councilors historically get some travel allowances, meal costs and overnight hotel stays during statewide government meetings in Salem and Portland. But no money for anything else. There appeared to be only a luke warm attitude about city councilors actually getting paid to be councilors totally apart from attending out-of-town government seminars and such. Although there was motivation to understand what was being proposed, there wasn’t enough motivation to actually make a motion to get on the city’s payroll. In fact, the idea was dropped rather rapidly.
The City Council voted to knock on the door of the Federal Aviation Administration for some minor upgrades to the Newport Airport, mostly trimming trees to make sure landing aircraft don’t clip the tree tops. The council now waits for an answer from Uncle Sam in Washington DC – an answer that’s expected to be a big YES.
The City Council got some pleasant news from a local group who loves to create trails in the Big Creek Dam area. They submitted their proposal to the City Council and enjoyed a unanimous YES! from the council. And more good news – 4th of July Fireworks over Yaquina Bay IS A GO this year. Due to the pandemic last summer, there wasn’t any fireworks on the 4th. This year they’re hoping to restore the sounds of fireworks whistles, loud bangs and roars from exploding fireworks. At least that’s the plan.