This week the Newport City Council again wrestled with when and how local businesses should be compelled to buy a city business license. They debated such concepts as number of rentals, business locations, interrelated modes of commerce, and the like. The bottom line is, they’re still “not there yet.” So to “get them there” they’re inviting their contract city attorney to come to Newport next month to shed some light on the situation.
The council also debated a way to ban or only discourage the use of plastic shopping bags in Newport stores. Charging a deposit for either the bags, or paper bags or encouraging recycling of the plastic bags, are all in the mix. The council is appointing a citizens task force to sort the issue out and have some sensible solution, that takes in all manner of fashion of interest groups, and then offer up a city ordinance the whole town can live with. The task force is made up of local retailers, garbage disposal companies, environmental boosters, and just plain folks to ensure proper representation to deal with such a broad based issue. The committee has until September to come up with a model ordinance the council can take seriously.
The council also got a report from Public Works Director Tim Gross that was filled with good-news/bad-news ingredients. The bad news was that the Big Creek lower dam is in bad shape and may not figure in to the city’s long term water plan – yet to be determined. But in the meantime, the good news is, Gross says he’s confident he can get the new drinking water treatment plant up and operating on time, but not quite in budget due to forced changes in the way water is retrieved from the reservoir – a result of the sad condition of the dam. Gross offered a complicated set of variables aimed at long term water management options that could involve any number of scenarios. The bottom line is…the treatment plant may still cost more than was budgeted which could affect other “down stream” projects like the Agate Beach water tank. Gross went through a number of financial and engineering machinations that would suggest they can get the job done for less money than what currently appears to be necessary. But he says he’s still working the numbers and the engineering.