Reminder: Yard Sale This Saturday, July 13
Don’t forget the highly anticipated East Row Yard Sale on Saturday, July 13, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Please spread the word to your family and friends. See you at the yard sale!
Fall Tree Planting Orders Due July 15
By Chris Compte, Chair of the Tree Revitalization Committee
What: Fall Tree Planting
Street trees (planted between the sidewalk and the street)
Various varieties (10’-12’ tall) to create a diverse, healthy canopy which is resistant to an outbreak of pests that might kill all trees of a variety
Suitable to the urban environment and the specific location (i.e., smaller trees under power lines)
Selected by an arborist
Funded by the East Row Garden Club, the East Row Historic Foundation, individual property owners and a generous grant from the Duke Energy Foundation
Where: East Row Historic District and beyond
Extending north to the river, south to the railroad tracks and 11th Street, and west from the East Row to Monmouth Street
When: Planting on October 19
Planting rain or shine
Orders must be in by July 15
How: Download the order form for property owners
Print the order form and mail it with a check ($50.00 per tree) to the address on the form
The entire planting will be done by volunteers, grouped in teams of three or four. Those who order trees are particularly urged to volunteer or to help in another way.
If you are ordering a tree, you can use the tree order form to volunteer. If you are not ordering a tree, email DeeAnne Helm at email@example.com and let her know the number of adults and children and if you can plant trees or want to do some other task. DeeAnne will organize teams as we get closer to the October planting date.
Besides the tree benefits spelled out in the previous Voice articles, there is food, companionship, and fun offered free for participants. See you there and don’t forget to order your tree today!
If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tree Revitalization Committee looks forward to seeing you for a fun and productive day!
Campbell County Backroads Farm Tour
By Bev Holiday
The Campbell County Conservation District is excited to invite you to the Campbell County Backroads Farm Tour on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, rain or shine.
There will be fun for the whole family! See the county as you never have before on this self-guided driving tour of agricultural operations located around Campbell County. Guests can explore vineyards, equestrian centers, beef cattle operations, horticultural operations, and see antique farm equipment.
You can also get a glimpse of the importance of preserving the county's prime farmland. Farmers will be available to share their stories and experiences as well as answer any questions. Many of the stops will have items such as produce, wine, crafts, and other farm products for sale, so remember to bring a cooler and cash.
Little Rock Farm and Neltner Farm, two of the Saturday Newport Farmers Market participants, are on the tour. This is a great opportunity to visit with the farmers. See first-hand what it takes to get produce straight from beautiful Kentucky farm dirt to your fork. You will definitely have a greater appreciation for our Campbell County farmers!
For more information, including a tour map and list of participants, download the 2019 Backroads Farm Tour brochure.
The Story of the Newport Dog Park
By Corey Siddall
About nine years ago, a group of Newport residents got together to create a local dog park. They worked diligently with other neighbors and businesses to raise funds. They worked with the City of Newport to use land and to share maintenance responsibilities. The Dog Park Committee (DPC) was established as an independent committee of the East Row Historic Foundation.
A concrete pad was poured, a brick gateway was erected, and a large area of Providence Park was enclosed with decorative fence to compliment the Historic District. The DPC built the Newport Dog Park and it was a big success! The DPC continued to raise funds and made improvements, such as a water fountain and benches. The dogs of Newport loved the dog park and so did their parents. It was a big success!
In July of 2018, the Newport City Manager asked the DPC to meet with him. He pointed out that the dog park was not a city endeavor. Permission to use the land was granted with the understanding that permission could be withdrawn if the dog park ceased to be an appropriate use for the land. He said that the dog park was too successful. It had outgrown its current location and it needed to be moved. He suggested two locations on the east side of Newport, the old city garage lot or under the I-471 highway, behind the library.
The DPC did not receive this information with glee. Communications between the DPC and the city broke down. In April of 2019, the City Manager once again contacted the DPC and said that the dog park needed to be moved or closed down. It was causing problems for nearby residents.
Since the opening of the dog park, the DPC weakened a bit. The dog park was up and running and did not need as much effort. Some of the original DPC members moved away, some went on to follow other passions, and others continued working to raise funds for a shelter.
There were efforts to address the proposal made by the City Manager. The original two sites were rejected as being unsuitable. Some ideas to mitigate problems for residents near the current park were suggested. The possibility of using the land directly behind the library was investigated. Parking, access paths, a bridge over the little creek, costs to move and extend the fence, installing a water fountain, and getting permission from the State Highway Department were investigated by the City Manager and the DPC.
The City Manager said the city would be able to cover the majority of the costs to move the dog park, but the DPC would have to make significant financial contributions to the proposed new and improved dog park.
When news of this situation began to spread, several people from the East Row neighborhood, including the author, had meetings with the City Manager to discuss the situation. In both meetings, the City Manager was firm. He was willing to work to move the dog park with the cooperation of the DPC, or he would close the dog park. He said it cannot stay where it is.
At the June East Row Historic Foundation meeting, a DPC member presented results of a survey which showed opinions about the dog park and how it has been used. The majority of the survey results were positive.
Public announcements were made for a dog park meeting to be held at the library on June 25. Over 30 dog park supporters attended the meeting. It was decided to elect a board to manage the Dog Park Committee, to work with the city to ensure we would continue to have a Newport dog park, and to continue efforts to make the dog park the best it can possibly be.
The new DPC leadership wishes to thank all the past leaders and financial contributors for the amazing job they have done to create and maintain the Newport dog park! All the hard work from countless volunteers, and the money from countless contributors is greatly appreciated.
If we are going to have a place in Newport for our dogs to run and play with each other, the DPC is going to need your help and support. They will need volunteers and will need financial contributions. Please be a part of a successful Newport dog park.
The new DPC board members need a little bit of time to organize. They plan to communicate in the near future.
Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Message
By City Manager Tom Fromme
I am pleased to submit to you the approved fiscal year 2020 budget. The City Manager is responsible for the formulation and administration of the annual budget, which was approved on June 17.
The budget numbers are our best projection for revenues and expenditures throughout the fiscal year. Formulation of the budget typically begins in March, when forms are distributed to each department. The department heads submit their requests for new personnel equipment and supplies for the coming fiscal year. The department requests are submitted to the finance department and a draft budget is generated. It includes the budget requests, amended previous fiscal year budget and projected revenues.
The City Manager reviews the draft budget and conducts meetings with each department in order to determine allocations based on projected revenue. A final draft is reviewed by the budget committee, which is comprised of two board members, the City Manager and staff. After the committee review, a final draft is submitted to all members of the board for review. Staff is available to meet with individual board members to answer any questions that they may have. The budget proposal is then placed on the agenda for the Board of Commissioners to consider and adopt. By law, the City must adopt a budget before July 1 of each year.
The proposed budget continues to focus on capital improvements, particularly infrastructure repair. Personnel costs have increased across all departments. Medical insurance continues to be a rising cost and equipment and infrastructure replacement needs are growing and have been deferred over many years due to budget constraints. To begin to address these needs, this budget includes the issuance of a general obligation note for capital equipment across all departments and improvements to city facilities. The timing of the note would fall at the end of calendar year 2019 to minimize payments during this budget year. This budget also includes a three percent cost of living increase for non-contract civilian staff.
In order to keep up with these rising costs, this budget includes a recommendation to take the compensating rate, plus four percent. We are also recommending the approval of an alcohol regulatory fee of 2.5 percent and an increase in the rental license fee to $75 due to the ever increasing cost of enforcement.
Business growth in the city continues to increase, which is critical since we rely on payroll as our primary source of revenue, accounting for approximately 35 percent of all revenue. Our largest growing businesses continue to be P.L. Marketing, Kroger, Defender Direct, Divisions, Inc., Impact Group, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the David J. Joseph Company, National Band and Tag Co. Inc., iWireless and Nexigen Communications. Property tax accounts for approximately 14 percent of revenue. Riverfront Place, OVATION and Riverchase Apartments (Ray Brown Properties) are the three largest property-tax payers.
Several new developments continue to be on the horizon. During fiscal year 2019, the New Riff Distilling campus was completed, a new office development is being developed in the old Greenline Bus barn, and the Academy on 4th is near completion. The former Baptist Home site is being redeveloped into condominiums. More interest in residential development throughout the city has occurred, and project development continues on the Skywheel and on the Pegasus Riverfront Project.
Major developments announced during FY19 include the redevelopment of Newport on the Levee, the kick-off to Phase 1 of OVATION and a mixed-use development at the Peace Bell site. These three projects alone will account for $180 million in development. The completion of all phases of OVATION will approach $1 billion in development.
From a fiscal perspective, we have seen moderate revenue growth as demonstrated by the amended budget estimates showing a 3.3 percent increase in revenue over the original budget. We also eliminated the use of the tax anticipation note (TAN) at the end of FY18. Our goals continue to be working to grow revenues, keeping expenses reasonable, focusing on safety and quality of life, and continuing to catch up on infrastructure improvements and equipment replacement.
In closing, I want to thank everyone involved in the budget process for their work and input in the preparation of this budget.
If you have any questions email email@example.com or call 859-292-3687. Great things are happening in Newport! Thanks for your efforts to continue to make Newport a great place to live, work, shop, and play.
NBA July Meeting
By Bev Holiday, NBA Vice President
The Newport Business Association (NBA) will be discussing "New Developments in the City" presented by project developers at its meeting on Wednesday, July 31, at 8:00 am at the City Building (998 Monmouth Street) in the Multi-Purpose Room. The meeting is free to attend and open to the public.