The voters in Lincoln County, and in Newport especially, gave elected officials little pieces of coal on election day. Newport city officials were hoping to pump up the city’s piggy bank with higher taxes so it could make some long needed improvements to roads, streets and filling 20 city worker positions – including some additional police officers. It could have been the Covid-19 pandemic that spooked the voters. The voters also turned down a higher gasoline tax and a sizeable tax on prepared foods for locals and tourists alike.
But despite the lumps of coal from the voters, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. While county officials were counting votes, President Joe Biden was supporting a mega-money bill that passed both the U.S. House and Senate – part of a massive transportation program to bring federal highways back up to par which could involve Highways 101, 18 and 20 – no official word yet if there will be any funds for local roads and streets.
The city is also pursuing the construction of low to moderate income housing in Newport…housing that is built up rather than sprawling out. It’s happening all over the country due to population growth and land costs. Consultants and engineers are being brought on board to pursue the art of the possible in various areas of Newport.