Here are some highlights of what we've done in February:
Plastic Bag Ordinance
The first reading of the ordinance passed at the February 22 meeting – we’re one step closer to plastic bag free Newport!
Since January, there have been 2 meetings of the Plastic Bag Ordinance Implementation Subcommittee. This subcommittee is working to draft the implementation plan for an upcoming ordinance that will ban the distribution of single use plastic bags in Newport. We are organizing the education, outreach, and strategy of the ordinance’s roll-out, including the grace period that will extend until November 1, 2017.
I put forward a resolution with my fellow Councilors Susan Taylor and Jeanne Napolitano requesting that each of the City’s Boards and Commissions prepare a summary of their purpose, task, and goals along with a clear mission statement. These summaries will then be added to the City’s website to bring clarity to the workings of our government and help prospective volunteers decide where their knowledge would be of the most use to the city. Our Boards and Commissions provide an invaluable service to the City and I believe that by helping our residents better understand their duties, we will see an uptick in the number of people that want to serve or otherwise participate in our local government.
Growing our local economy
A hydroponic lettuce grower out of Canada is looking to relocate into Newport. A meeting on February 23 covered a briefing on the project, focusing on potential jobs, environmental impact, neighborhood impact, and more. We voted to authorize the City Manager to proceed with negotiations to bring this project to Newport.
The Superintendent briefed the City Council and the School Committee on school enrollment projections and upcoming facilities issues at a joint workshop on February 18. We were briefed on enrollment trends from the past school years and the future enrollment projections for Newport Public Schools; enrollments are expected to rise in the future, especially in the NACTEC program. In addition to discussion on enrollment projections, the potential facilities issues that come along with these increased enrollments.
City Council Workshop on the Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Annual Finance Review, and Actuarial Reports for Post-Retirement Benefits, Police Pension and Fire Pension on February 15. This was a broad review of the City’s Strategic Plan (which will be used as a guide for the City Council and Administration), the Comprehensive Annual Finance Review, and the Actuarial Reports – including what percentage of our pension accounts are funded.