Newport City Council eyes selling VAC to help city finances – says no (for now) to replacement fire truck
A cash strapped Newport City Council is preparing to put the Newport Visual Arts Center up for sale.
The council said it will take time to sell the property. Oregon Coast Council for the Arts members who attended the council meeting Monday said they were taken aback by the the news but that they will closely monitor the sale process.
During Monday night’s city council meeting Oregon Coast Council for the Arts Director Catherine Rickbone told the council that the arts community is quite uncomfortable about the announcement and will be meeting to ascertain what their role in the process will be. The council has a management agreement for both the Visual Arts Center and the Performing Arts Center.
The city is eyeing to sell the property in order to help fund the city’s emerging critical issues of sewer, water, streets, and other vital public services. The council has been told in the past that the VAC faces imminent maintenance issues that are quite costly.
The council decided to hold another discussion on the matter at the council’s next meeting, 7pm, Oct. 7.
To further illustrate the city’s tightening financial condition Fire Chief Phil Paige was turned down Monday night on his request that the fire department’s aging first response fire truck be replaced with a newer model. The council said it doesn’t doubt the need but that the city needs time to carefully assess its financial condition in order to plan for such purchases in the future. The council said it’s in the process of assessing short and long term purchases and programs dealing with all aspects of city services including sewer, water, streets and other so-called infrastructure needs.
There has been a lot of discussion surrounding Newport’s financial situation over the past couple of years. City Councilor Ralph Busby and others contend that the city has been spending more than it’s been taking in, thereby pulling down reserves.