Mayor Sullivan addresses city progress and community concerns

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NEWPORT –– In a recent letter to the residents of Newport, Mayor Linda Joy Sullivan addressed a range of issues concerning the city’s development and community well-being. You can read the full letter by clicking here.

In her update, the mayor took a firm stance against negative fixation on individuals or elected officials, describing such behavior as potentially harmful and counterproductive. She emphasized the need for constructive dialogue and invited residents to reach out to her directly for discussions and clarifications.

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Mayor Sullivan highlighted several significant developments in Newport’s journey towards economic growth and community unity. Among the notable announcements was the anticipated bid for the infrastructure and construction of the new terminal at the Newport airport (NEKIA) in June 2024. This development marks a significant milestone for the city and its aviation sector.

The NEKIA Aviation Task Force is actively collaborating with stakeholders, reflecting Newport’s commitment to inclusive and forward-thinking approaches in key sectors. Additionally, the city’s focus on community policing was evident through the successful hosting of a forum with a panel of professionals, thanks to the efforts of Senator Russ Ingalls. Plans for a follow-up forum and a Mental Health Forum are underway, showcasing Newport’s dedication to addressing complex social issues.

In terms of financial health, Newport has made strides in salvaging and securing new funding for redevelopment. The appointment of a new City Manager and the implementation of policies and procedures, including those concerning conflicts of interest and personnel, indicate a structured approach to governance. The city is also conducting thorough reviews of its water and sewer systems, grants, and credit lines, ensuring transparency and efficiency in its operations.

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The process of hiring a new fire chief is in progress, with an inclusive approach involving the Interim Fire Chief, Police Chief, and selected fire department members. This reflects the administration’s commitment to collaborative decision-making.

Mayor Sullivan also mentioned the ongoing review of the city’s historic email and document deletions, a step towards greater transparency and accountability. Additionally, the City is bolstering safety training within the Department of Public Works and planning new trainings post-Election Day for the Council, City Manager, and Department Heads.

In a move to foster community engagement and discussion on development needs, a forum is set to be scheduled in April 2024. This forum will provide a platform for discussions about Newport’s properties and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district processes.

The mayor also highlighted the review and bonding of City employees and officials, in line with the City Charter, to ensure integrity and trust in public service. The budgeting process for the city, including opportunities for public engagement and council approval, was also discussed.

As the city gears up for the upcoming council elections, Mayor Sullivan applauded the candidates vying for the council seats, demonstrating the community’s active involvement in its governance.

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