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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Newport City Council to fill Gribble vacancy
Members of the Newport City Council meeting Tuesday evening remembered a fellow alderman who died suddenly late last month. A black wreath was in the chair that always was occupied by Roger Gribble. The council expressed appreciation for the late council member "who was a bulldog for what he believed was right", said Alderman Jeff Fancher. City Manager James Finchum detailed the procedure for filling the vacancy to serve out Gribble's term. "It is the consensus that we follow the procedure we have followed in the past when there has been a vacancy in an alderman position. And so any qualified candidate(city resident)may submit a resume by noon on Wednesday, September 27." The council then will hold a workshop on October 2 at 5 pm to interview the applicants. The Council had earlier said they will match the funding for the Newport Animal Shelter operations if Cocke County agreed to provide $100,000. The county has approved a budget with that amount earmarked for shelter but the council has not voted to provide the matching dollars. Alderman Fancher has served as the negotiator with county officials and the shelter owner, Friends of the Animal Shelter. Fancher told the council he does not want to keep the current temporary shelter downtown and he doesn't want to renege on the earlier promise to provide funding to the Friends of the Animal Shelter. "With that said, there are some questions that must be answered before I give my approval for the first penny. The people of Newport have expressed their confidence in us and we have accomplished alot of things, but we want to lower the property tax rate. So there needs to be answers with regard to who is running it and the management contract," the alderman said. The council agreed to purchase several pieces of equipment for Recycling, Street Department and Fire Department. Finchum said the city is getting it's financial house in order and he expects the property tax rate will be dropped next year. Greta Carr of East Tennessee Artscapes asked the council members to make personal donations toward the rehabilitation of the benches at the Cocke County Courthouse. The council recognized the employees of the Newport Animal Shelter as a part of Animal Control Month. An ordinance was approved to allow the outdoor service of alcohol by local restaurants. The Grease Rack on Morrell Springs Road had asked for the change in regulations. City Manager Finchum said the regulation requires that the serving area must be behind a barrier, out of public view. A property at the corner of the Cosby Road and English Street was rezoned from R1 Low Density Residential to C2 General Commercial District. The site will be used as a take-out only Thai Restaurant, operated by Manit Subhakul. The Council re-named Cherry Street to TEVET Street recognizing a new firm which will use the former NPI building as a worldwide headquarters and the former spec building for assembly and storage. Partnership President Lucas Graham said the firm pays well and is very community oriented.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

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