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Newport officials tackle budget challenges

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NEWPORT—During a recent city council meeting, Newport officials grappled with budget constraints across several departments, highlighting a citywide need for careful fiscal management in the coming months.

City Manager Jonathan DeLaBruere presented budget figures showing significant spending in key areas, with the police department over budget but awaiting grant reimbursement.

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Tom Bernier, head of Newport’s public works department, voiced concerns over high turnover and the challenges of training staff to level three certification, essential for handling the city’s maintenance and special projects.

Similarly, the fire department reported consuming 73 percent of its budget, while public works and recreation departments spent 86 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

In addition to financial discussions, the council reviewed ongoing initiatives and community programs. They approved a notable 50 percent discount on dock fees for the local sailing club, which is gearing up for a busy summer at Gardner Park and Lake Memphremagog.

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This move supports the club’s efforts to expand its offerings, funded by state grants and local fundraising.

Other civic activities include the preparation for community events like the Northsong spring concerts and a forum with State Treasurer Mike Piechiak. The next council meeting is scheduled for May 20, where ongoing budget discussions and city appointments will continue.

As Newport navigates these fiscal and community priorities, Mayor Linda Joy Sullivan and the council say they remain committed to maintaining essential services while fostering community engagement and local development.

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