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The Covid-19 Virus is slowing things down – but there is still forward motion at City Hall

SENATOR JEFF MERKLEY VISITS NEWPORT
US Senator Jeff Merkley visited Newport where he learned about the city’s need for a new dam to replace the two existing dams on Big Creek. His brief visit included information regarding the need for a new dam along with a visit to the upper Big Creek Dam. The city was honored to host Senator Merkley, and appreciates his support of this critical piece of infrastructure.
Left to Right: Mayor Dean Sawyer, Sen. Jeff Merkley and State Rep. David Gomberg
Proposed Measures FAQs: Gas tax and prepared food tax
July 27, 2021
  • Why did the City Council refer these proposed measures to the ballot?
    • The Newport City Council has referred two proposed measures to the November ballot that would increase the city’s gas tax by 5 cents per gallon and implement a 5-percent tax on prepared food, if passed. There is a structural budgetary shortfall anticipated in the city’s budget. The city cut 22 FTE positions. If passed, these two proposed measures would tax both the 10,000 year-round city residents and its up to 20,000 visitors on any given day during the peak season who utilize city services and facilities. For a meal costing $10, the tax would be 50 cents.
  • Who came up with this idea?
    • Both proposed taxes are the product of a series of work groups who examined the city budget, future projections for revenues and expenses and other factors.
      • Over a three-year period, the Finance Work Group – established by the City Council – considered these matters and proposed the new taxes, in addition to several budget cuts. The city has cut 22 full-time equivalent positions, in addition to proposing the revenue increase.
      • These proposed taxes would distribute the burden among the city’s 10,000 residents and the nearly 20,000 visitors who utilize city services and facilities.
  • How much money would the city collect on the proposed gas tax?
    • The proposed gas tax is estimated to generate $392,000 in revenue annually and would be used for maintenance and repairs to streets within the city. The city estimates that street maintenance will cost $2 million per year.
  • How much would the city collect on the proposed prepared food tax?
    • If the measure passes, the city expects to collect an estimated $2,543,000 annually on this proposed tax.
  • Why is the city proposing taxing restaurants and vendors of prepared food?
    • The city is not proposing taxing restaurants, but rather the consumers of prepared food. If the measure passes, the proposed prepared food assessment would be paid as a separate line item on restaurant bills by the consumers of prepared foods. Vendors would collect the tax and turn those funds over to the city on a quarterly basis. If passed, the city would provide $200,000 from the proposed new revenues as grants to assist businesses that would begin collecting the tax.
  • How would the city spend the new revenue?
    • If the measure passes, the city would use the revenue to fund the following positions and projects:
      • Three police officers, one parking enforcement officer, three firefighters/EMTs, one bilingual librarian and a part-time library staff position;
      • Maintenance and upgrades to 48 city-owned facilities (including the Visual Arts Center, Performing Arts Center, Recreation Center and 60+ Center) and parks;
      • One-time business grants to assist prepared food vendors in collecting the new tax; and
      • Replacing and purchasing equipment for city operations.
  • How long would the proposed prepared food tax be collected?
    • The proposed prepared food tax ballot measure would be a five-year levy with an option to renew. By statute, the City Council could choose to pass these taxes with a motion and vote. Instead, the Council opted to put these items before the voters.
  • What would be taxed if the proposed prepared food ballot measure passes?
    • If passed, the tax would apply to foods cooked or prepared for consumption such as sandwiches, fountain drinks, salads, hot food, etc.
  • Would all prepared food in the city be taxed?
    • No. Prepared foods sold on hospital grounds; in public educational institutions, vending machines, bed and breakfast establishments or residential facilities; or by non-profit or government organizations and some other vendors would be exempt from the tax.
  • Is anybody else in Oregon collecting a prepared food tax?
    • Yes. In fact, two other Oregon cities – the City of Ashland, with a population of about 21,000, and the City of Yachats, with a population of about 765 – both utilize similar prepared food taxes to fund city government services. Like Newport, both cities have a substantial number of daily visitors.
  • What happens if the proposed ballot measures do not pass?
    • If the proposed measures do not pass, the proposed services would not be provided and taxes would not be increased.
CITY COUNCIL TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING
ON ORDINANCE WHICH, IF ADOPTED, WOULD ALLOW FOOD TRUCKS
IN THE CITY OF NEWPORT

 

On Tuesday, September 7, at 6:00 P.M., the City Council will hold a public hearing on Ordinance No. 2187, which, if adopted, would amend the Newport Municipal Code to allow for food trucks in the city. The public hearing will be held in the City Council Chambers of the Newport City Hall, 169 SW Coast Highway.

Newport’s existing laws limit food carts and food trucks (collectively “mobile food units”) to privately owned commercial property that is at least ½ mile from permanent eating and drinking establishments. Vending of this nature on public property is limited to special events or specifically designated areas, and the City offers a narrow set of licensing options for mobile operators who want to vend from public parking areas, requiring they move every 15 minutes.

The City Council, as part of its goal setting, concluded that it is timely and appropriate to update these laws to provide additional options for individuals that wish to operate a mobile food unit(s) within the city.

The Newport Planning Commission and Commission Advisory Committee held work sessions earlier this year to consider the city’s existing regulations and model ordinances, potential changes they wanted to see to the city’s regulations, and a draft set of proposed amendments. Being satisfied that the amendments accurately reflected desired outcomes, the Planning Commission formally initiated the legislative amendment process in May.

Newport Municipal Code (NMC) Chapter 4.10, related to vending on public property and streets, is being amended to allow mobile food units to setup in commercial and industrial areas for up to two hours, except Nye Beach and the Bayfront where they are limited to designated vending areas. The changes further provide:
a. Size allowances for designated vending areas (as opposed to mobile) may be set by Council resolution, with the expectation that some locations will be large enough that they are suitable for mobile food units; and
b. Vendors must demonstrate that they have obtained all necessary permits from state or local health authorities or other required licenses; and
c. Liability insurance requirements are being increased to match current city requirements; and
d. Existing requirements that mobile vendors in residential areas must move every 15 minutes and are prohibited within 500-feet of schools will be retained; and
e. Licenses to vend in designated vending areas will be issued on a first come, first served basis, except that preference will be given to operators that are renewing their license; and
f. Vending may continue to be allowed as part of an approved Special Events Permit.

Revisions to NMC Chapters 14.01 and 14.09, related to vending on private property, will allow mobile food units on property zoned for commercial, industrial, and water-related uses with property owner consent, subject to a temporary use permit. The changes further provide:
a. Applicants must show that their unit has been licensed by the Lincoln County Health Department and that the location they have selected, and manner in which they are operating, satisfies clear and objective standards designed to promote health and safety and avoid nuisance impacts; and
b. If four or more mobile food units are to be located on a property, the development becomes a Mobile Food Unit Pod, subject to additional standards such as connecting to sewer, permanent power, provision of sheltered outdoor seating, restroom facilities and lighting; and
c. Mobile Food Units must be at least 500 feet from schools and will be allowed only as pods in Nye Beach and the Bayfront.

Proposed amendments to NMC Chapters 11.05 and 12.15 clarify that mobile food units are vehicles that are not subject to building codes, and that System Development Charges are payable only if the development is a pod.

Public hearings before the Planning Commission were held on July 12, 2021 and July 26, 2021 to consider and refine the proposed amendments. Advance notice was provided to interested parties and brick and mortar eating/drinking establishments. Additionally, at the Commission’s request, staff met with the Lincoln County School District to discuss the code concepts. The Commission, after considering evidence and argument in the record, ultimately recommended adoption of the amendments being presented to the City Council at this public hearing.

Two of the most contentious issues are whether or mobile food units should be prohibited within 500 feet of schools, and whether they should be limited to pods on private property in Nye Beach and the Bayfront. The Lincoln County School District requested the 500 foot separation requirement because it is concerned that units located any closer to their facilities would be so attractive to students that it would exacerbate truancy and risk the financial viability of their free lunch program by drawing away too many paying students.

Testimony in favor of limiting mobile food units to pods in Nye Beach and the Bayfront relate to the level of congestion in these tourist-oriented areas, and a concern that allowing an unlimited number of mobile food units would exacerbate those conditions. The Planning Commission agreed with those that raised these concerns. On August 16, 2021, the Newport City Council met in work session to review the proposed amendments and rationale the Planning Commission provided for each of the changes. The Council asked that mobile food units be permitted at large residential construction sites and that change has been incorporated into the draft ordinance. They also provided guidance as to the number of business license vending endorsements that should be made available in Nye Beach and the Bayfront, which is included in the draft Resolution No. 3930.

CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER
A NON-PROFIT GRANT PROGRAM
AT ITS SEPTEMBER 7 MEETING

At the May 18, 2021 Budget Committee meeting, the Budget Committee voted to approve $20,000 for a non-profit grant program for the 2021/2022 Fiscal Year. The Committee also recommended that there be a maximum of $2,500 for any grant. This allocation was included in the budget that was approved by the Committee and ultimately adopted by Council.

Several years ago, the city had a non-profit, social service agency, grant program. It was quite successful, and despite the grant amounts being rather modest, the grants were appreciated by the non-profit social service agencies in the community. 

Stay tuned for additional information regarding this program.

Library Happenings
1: Library Services Update
The Newport Public Library has extended Library hours of operation. The Library’s hours are 10 AM -5 PM Tuesday through Friday. Masks are currently required for anyone entering the building.
 
You are able to browse the collection, pick up holds, sign up for a library card, check out items, and use our public library computers. Computer use is on a first come, first served basis. You are encouraged to pick up your holds inside the building. The meeting room, conference room, and study room are available for scheduling. The Library building book drop will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
 
2. Library Card Sign Up Month
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! Join the festivities by getting your own library card today. Visit the Newport Public Library’s website at www.newportlibrary.org to get started!
 
 3: It’s (Finally) 2021 Reading Challenge
The It’s (Finally) 2021 Reading Challenge encourages you to switch up your usual reading habits and explore what the Library has to offer. After you’ve read a book, eBook, or Audiobook in each of the first 33 categories, turn in a reading challenge ticket for prizes and a chance to win the Grand Prize Drawing. There are bonus categories that can earn you extra entries in the Grand Prize Drawing too! The It’s (Finally) 2021 Reading Challenge takes place from January 1, 2021-December 31, 2021.
 
4: STEAM Take Away Kits
The Newport Public Library is offering STEAM inspired takeaway activities to come by during Library hours: Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10 am – 5 pm. This month they will be making tissue paper lanterns, while supplies last. These kits are best for ages 11 and under.
 
 5: The Reading Circle
Monthly meetings are held in the Library’s McEntee meeting room on the second Tuesday of the month at 12 pm. The Newport Library Reading Circle will meet on Tuesday, September 14th at 12:00 pm to discuss, “The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson. The Reading Circle is free and open to the public.
 
6: Library Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is available from 8 am – 5:30 pm Mondays through Fridays in the Library parking lots for FREE. Please share this announcement with students and others who may not have Wi-Fi at home!
 
7. New Item Processing at the Newport Public Library
Ever wonder how your book made it from the publisher to your hands? This video shows the steps taken by library staff members to get your library materials to you!8. Hoopla Bonus Borrows
Hoopla Bonus Borrows are back! These books do not count for your three-book monthly limit, so feel free to check them out! This week we’re getting ready for the start of the new school year. Select the link for the complete Bonus Borrows collection: http://ow.ly/gnHV50FLnKQ
 
9. Final Virtual Summer Reading Program Performer of this summer
Rich Richey, the Oregon Reptile Man is our final performer for this summer! You can watch his performance at our website and YouTube page. To watch the performance, please select the link: http://ow.ly/1mVz50FLsiJ
 
10. Newport Public Library YouTube Channel
Did you know that the Newport Public Library has a YouTube Channel? Visit the Newport Public Library YouTube channel and subscribe TODAY: http://ow.ly/7Nv250Bc5ef 

September 2021 – Upcoming Meetings

All City Council, Planning Commission, and City advisory committee meetings are listed on the City website at www.newportoregon.gov. For additional information: call 541.574.0603. 

Visit http://www.newportoregon.gov/dept/adm/hr/currentjobs.asp to apply or for more information.
 


Message from Newport City Manager Spencer Nebel:It is hard to believe that the traditional end of summer is fast approaching with Labor Day weekend. It has been a very busy and robust summer with a number of significant issues that have slowed our progress back to more normal times. First of all, our county is dealing with a high level of positive COVID-19 cases. This has caused us to reinstate a number of measures to protect staff and the public. We continue to follow the Governor’s requirements for protecting our employees and the public, based on guidelines issued by the State of Oregon. We urge everyone to take proper precautions and be careful to slow the spread of COVID-19 during this time.
 
Furthermore, we are also continuing to monitor the drought emergency declared in Lincoln County. Overall, we are holding our own with our water supply. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to conserve water use until we get into our rainy season. These efforts help reduce the demand for water on the Siletz River.
 
We have had some relief with more maritime moisture decreasing the fire risk for Lincoln County. That being said, if conditions similar to what was experienced last Labor Day weekend occur, there is a threat of coastal wildfires to occur with the limited rainfall we have had during spring and summer. We urge people to use extreme caution relating to fire.
 
While we have some challenges, we also have some great weather to enjoy this final weekend of summer. I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend.
 
Sincerely,Spencer R. Nebel
City Manager
 

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Coast Tree

audiology title=

barrelhead

prp

Coast Tree

Sema Roofing

wandr

occc

audiology title=

barrelhead

prp

Coast Tree

Sema Roofing

wandr

occc

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