When the Newport City Council convenes Monday night, it’ll be the last time Mayor Mark McConnell will gavel the meeting to order or that councilors Lon Brusselback and Jeff Burtuleit will take part in council duties. Brusselback decided not to seek re-election last November and Bertuleit lost to Sandra Roumagoux in the last election for mayor. Councilor candidates Laura Swanson, Dean Sawyer and Ralph Busby will be sworn in as the new members of the Newport City Council, Dean Sawyer an incumbent by earlier appointment to the council.
Since Jeff Bertuleit’s seat was up for election, and since he lost to Mayor-Elect Sandra Roumagoux, his seat will be filled by one of five candidates that filed for it, including Bertuleit himself. Others include Mark Saelens, a county sustainability and resources manager for the county, Bill Bain, former mayor of Newport, Oly Olson, community activist, and a person identified only by her first name, Diana. Diana’s application was sent via a Japanese email address and the answers to the application questions were unrelated to the questions. City Clerk-Recorder Peggy Hawker said she noted the same nature of the application but added that even if the application is thrown out, she wanted to make sure it was properly acknowledged, read by city councilors and a decision made based on the merit of the application.
The City Council will also consider putting a ban on plastic shopping bags on the May special election ballot The issue was tackled by a sharply divided plastic bag task force appointed by the city council. The plastic bag task force didn’t change anyone’s mind but it did provide various options for dealing with single use plastic bags.
One of those options is banning single use plastic bags in Newport with a fee for using paper bags as a replacement – this to encourage the public to use regular cloth bags as full-time replacement to plastic bags. The council will consider a proposal to place a proposed ban on plastic bags on the May election ballot to let the voters decide.
Newport City Councilors will also get a report from Newport Fire Chief Phil Paige on efforts to bring various fire departments around the county closer together in ordering equipment, paying for training, recruiting volunteers, setting professional standards of fire fighting and over all department operations. Paige says he’ll be proposing a Lincoln County Fire Authority that will better coordinate fire department operations which will not raise anyone’s taxes but will produce greater productivity among all participating fire deparments. Those fire departments include Newport Fire, Newport Rural Fire, Depoe Bay Fire, and Central Coast Fire/Rescue based in Walport.
Paige said Monday’s progress report will cover the highlights of many meetings and other conversations to help fire departments around Lincoln County save money while improving service levels to their home constituencies.
The city council meets Monday evening, 6pm, at City Hall, downtown.