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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Newport City Council
Outgoing Newport Mayor Connie Ball spent some time at the Tuesday evening meeting of the Newport City Council, expressing his appreciation to those who had contributed to the city's progress during his tenure. Mayor Ball chose not to seek re-election after 24 years in the mayor's office and will be replaced by Roland "Trey" Dykes, III, who's father, Roland Dykes,Jr., served as mayor before Ball took the office. He applauded the city council, along with it's newly elected member, Louanna Ottinger. Ball went on to thank the departments, city employees and citizens for their support of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Mayor Ball said he found it interesting that he took the mayor's office following the death of Roland Dykes, and now Roland "Trey" Dykes, III. will take the position from him. He applauded the re-elected members of the council who two years ago raised property taxes. "Previous councils I worked with, never wanted to flirt with a tax increase. but you guys bit the bullet and raised taxes. You got (re-elected) because you used that money for the betterment of the city. When you show progress and show the people you are spending their money correctly, most people will get on board," the mayor said. Ottinger is replacing Alderman Jeff Fancher who ran for Newport mayor earlier this month. City Manager James Finchum reported that work has begun on the traffic signals on Broadway. That project is expected to take four to six weeks, resulting in the lights being synchronized but also "traffic driven." Incoming Mayor Dykes will leave the Newport Utilities Board at the end of the month as he moves into his new post. And so the city council will appoint a replacement to the utilities board seat next month. The council approved a request from Newport Utilities General Manager Glenn Ray for approval for plans by the utility to explore alternative financing for the fiber broadband project. The project had interim funding from USDA, but Ray said under the proposal, the project will be paid off in a shorter period of time. Richard Harwood was reappointed tot he Newport Housing Authority Board. And the council gave approval to Tourism Director Linda Lewanski applying for a state historical marker for the Tanner Building which is currently being rehabilitated.

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