Newport City continues to struggle with budget

Featured

copyright the Chronicle January 4, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — City Manager Laura Dolgin and Clerk and Treasurer James Johnson had their heads together Tuesday as they worked to provide budget options for Wednesday’s special city council meeting.

Over the past several weeks of meetings, council members have made clear their strong desire to keep this year’s property tax rate as close to last year’s as possible.

According to Ms. Dolgin, that attitude is unrealistic. In a memorandum addressed to members of the council and sent to them before a special budget meeting on December 29, she said a drop in last year’s tax rate was unwise and will continue to haunt budget-making for the next five years.

The municipal tax rate for the 2016-2017 budget year was $1.1797. A year earlier the rate was $1.1942.

Aldermen lowered taxes artificially last year by offsetting spending with $150,000 taken from the city’s reserve fund, she said.

“The offset effectively reduced the tax rate to pre-2015 rates, creating unrealistic expectations for future tax increases,” Ms. Dolgin said. “In order to recover, larger than expected tax increments will need to occur for the next several years.”

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Plans for Spates Block hole developing

Featured

copyright the Chronicle December 21, 2016

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — If a joint effort between Newport, the Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), and Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC) is successful, city residents may see progress toward rebuilding Main Street in the New Year.

According to NVDA Executive Director David Snedeker, the court-appointed receiver who controls property belonging to Ariel Quiros hopes to offer the site of the former Spates Block for sale early in 2017.

If a deal can be struck, Mr. Snedeker said, the property might be held by a nonprofit corporation already created by NCIC until it can be developed.

Newport City Manager Laura Dolgin said Friday that she is seeking more grant funding to hire a real estate consultant to advise on the best use for the downtown site.

According to the city’s form-based zoning code, whatever is built on the block between Center Street and Second Street must have off street parking, retail space on the ground floor, office or commercial space on the second, and housing on the higher floors.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Downtown business is slow this season

Featured

copyright the Chronicle December 14, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Retailers are always anxious as the Christmas season, which can be make or break for a business, approaches. This year Newport’s merchants have had the arrival of Walmart in the area added to their normal concerns.

For some, business is somewhat slower, others say they are seeing a more drastic affect. No one is saying business is booming.

One business that appeared to be directly in Walmart’s crosshairs is the Vista Supermarket at Waterfront Plaza. The store’s landlord, Ernie Pomerleau, was in town in October working on plans to allow the supermarket to stay in town.

Tim Merrill, the general manager of markets owned by Associated Grocers of New England, a category that includes Vista, said Mr. Pomerleau’s ideas are important to the future of the store. But, he said his company is “pleasantly surprised” at how well Vista has done in the face of competition from the retail giant’s food department.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Women queue up for business info

Featured

copyright the Chronicle December 7, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

NEWPORT — When Tara Lynn Scheidet of Sutton lost her job in 2005, she started her own business making custom natural fiber clothing, particularly wedding apparel.

Since then, Ms. Scheidet has won all sorts of grants and awards to help her move ahead with Tara Lynn Bridals.

She even won the Lowell Barn Pitch this year, but lost out in the state competition in Burlington because her business is too small — nowhere near the $300,000 annual income that investors want to see planned before they put their money down.

So when she heard about a new program called ASPIRE!, which helps Northeast Kingdom women start and grow businesses, Ms. Scheidet was one of the first to sign up.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Armed standoff in Newport

Featured

copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

NEWPORT — A standoff with a man armed with a rifle at Richard’s All Seasons Lodge, formerly the Bayview Inn, led to a heavy police presence here Tuesday afternoon and evening.

The situation was under control, but not resolved, said Dispatcher Laura Fisher at the Newport Police Department as of press time.

A Newport police officer at the scene said he suspected it could be a long night.

And there were reports that the man had barricaded himself in.

Despite rumors that hostages were involved, Dispatcher Fisher said there were no hostages.

Police closed that section of Pleasant Street off and were not allowing through traffic.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to online edition below:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

A railroad runs through it

Featured

copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Brad Usatch

 

Every rule is written in blood.

When Vermont Railway engineer Sean Harper and conductor Seth Rowell offered up this railroad maxim, they weren’t being dramatic. They were simply sharing the reality that undergirds the methodical repetition of procedures that marks every action they take.

The Chronicle was recently invited to ride along with a railroad crew from Vermont Railway to learn a little about this transportation corridor that runs through the heart of Orleans County. This reporter met with the crew on Friday at the Newport switchyard and eventually traveled south to its Lyndonville transload facility.

“I don’t like to think of it as a dangerous job,” Mr. Harper said.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Congressman Welch visits Orleans County

Featured

copyright the Chronicle November 2, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BARTON — Peter Welch spent half of Monday in Orleans County. He dropped by the Chronicle for a morning conversation before heading up to Newport for a meeting with city officials and legislators.

The state’s lone Congressman is running for a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives on both the Democratic and Republican lines, although he is a longtime Democrat.

In response to questions about the state of Congress, Mr. Welch said he’s worried about the Republicans.

“There’s an existential split in the Republican Party between the shutdown wing, and what I call the governing wing of the party,” he said.

The governing wing, he explained, “are conservatives who understand, at the end of the day, we have to pass budgets, and you can’t have a legislative body without compromises on legislation.”

Newport.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Orleans-2 candidates agree on much

Featured

copyright the Chronicle October 26, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — It would have been difficult to tell what party the four candidates seeking to represent Orleans-2 belong to just by listening to them at Monday night’s candidate forum. The only clue was how Ron Holland, Judith Jackson, Mike Marcotte, and Gary Viens said they would register their disapproval of Donald Trump in presidential balloting.

The four candidates are vying for the two seats in the Vermont House district that represents Newport City, Newport Center, Coventry, Irasburg, and part of Troy,

Dr. Holland and Ms. Jackson, the Democratic candidates, said they would unenthusiastically vote for Hillary Clinton. Ms. Jackson said she would hold her nose while doing it. Dr. Holland said he picked Ms. Clinton as the one least likely to start a disastrous war.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Roadside needles are evidence of a larger problem

Featured

copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

 Newport City Police are handing out a brochure that they hope will stop the littering of used hypodermic needles around town.

The brochure tells drug users how to exchange old needles for clean ones without being in contact with the police. The program, worked out in partnership with the St. Johnsbury-based nonprofit Vermont Safe, is free and anonymous.

Vermont Safe also offers mobile needle exchange by appointment in Barton and Orleans.

For the last couple of years, the Newport Police Department has seen a major increase in the number of needles found in parks, parking areas, and on the streets, Sergeant Travis Bingham said.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

More named Renaissance Corp. director

Featured

copyright the Chronicle August 3, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — It was July 28, Cynthia More’s first day on the job as executive director of the Newport City Renaissance Corporation (NCRC), and she didn’t have the key to her office.

Fortunately, Rick Woodward, the owner of the old Montgomery Ward building on Main Street and NCRC’s landlord, saw Ms. More’s predicament as she stood at the door and let her use his key.

Ms. More went in, followed by her husband, Gene McCormick, and a visitor, and she tried the desk chair out for size and looked around at the room’s bare walls.

By Tuesday the office was transformed. Ms. More had found banners trumpeting Newport’s marketing slogans and hung them on the walls. Swag, including Newport tote bags, medallions, and other NCRC branded items were out of storage and on display. Ms. More looked as if she had been on the job for years.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

Print subscription

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share