Valley News – Town Meeting 2022: Leisure center tops Newport term

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Valley News Correspondent

Posted: 02/04/2022 14:36:23

Modified: 02/04/2022 14:35:44

NEWPORT — Voters will have the opportunity to debate and change Newport’s city meeting mandate during Tuesday’s deliberative session beginning at 6 p.m. in the Newport High School gymnasium, ahead of the May 10 vote.

The mandate includes an appropriation of $7 million for the construction of a new community center on Meadow Road; a municipal budget of $10.2 million; and a new four-year collective bargaining agreement for Newport Police.

The city is offering to bond $4 million for the new community center, with the other $3 million being raised through donations, grants, and other sources. Newport chief financial officer Paul Brown said approximately $2.7 million has been raised to date.

In 2019, voters rejected a $6.5 million spending on the new community center, and city officials decided not to offer another bond vote during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The increase to 7 million is due to higher construction costs. The first-year debt repayment would not occur until 2024 and would increase taxes by 72 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, with decreases each year thereafter.

If approved by voters on town meeting day in May, the new center would have a 9,000-square-foot gym that seats 500 people and multiple function rooms. The center would be available for a range of sports and activities including dancing, cinema, a walking club, birthday parties, club meetings and conferences, as well as basketball, pickleball , wrestling and indoor football.

The bond would also pay for the demolition of the current recreation building on Belknap Avenue, which was built as a armory in 1939, and the construction of a three-bay garage to be used by the ambulance service.

The mandate also includes a $10.2 million budget and a four-year collective agreement with the Newport Police Department. The budget is $786,000 less than this year, or about 7%. drop. Most of the decrease is related to capital expenditures, which decreased by $869,000 as a result of the Sand Hill Bridge project.

Seven articles seek money for capital reserve funds or nonprofits, including Sullivan County Transportation and West Central Behavioral Health. The fire department placed an $85,000 credit on the warrant by petition. The money, according to the wording of the article, would allow for two career firefighters per shift and “allow the department to increase manpower day-to-day without having to hire new staff.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at [email protected]

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