NEWPORT — With only one member of the public present, two public hearings failed to generate much discussion and passed on 4-0 votes by the Newport Board of Selectmen Monday night. However, Cody Morrison, Newport Planning Coordinator, did take the time to carefully explain the thinking behind a Newport request for a $12,000 Community Development Block Grant feasibility study application. Morrison said the study would focus on a way to get public transportation from Newport to the Upper Valley. “A lot of people from the Newport area work at places like Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or Hypertherm,” he stated. “The dirt lot across from Newport High School would be kind of an incentive to support a bus operation,” Morrison suggested. That might be the location where a bus operation could pick up passengers for the Upper Valley and bring them home later in the day, he continued. “A feasibility study will see what the market will bear,” said Jeff Kessler, chairman of the Newport Board of Selectmen. Bert Spaulding, the lone spectator, had another thought. “As we age, a tremendous amount of people are going to Hanover that are not just limited to the workforce,” he said. “Those people would have more money to spend in Newport rather than on gas for their vehicles,” said Selectman John Hooper II.
The second public hearing was explained by Business Administrator Paul Brown. It discussed an Emergency Expenditure for the repayment of approximately $3,426,000 of interim financing on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Phosphorous Removal Project. Funds for the repayment will come from litigation settlement proceeds included in the Sewer Fund Retained Earnings, according to information on the meeting agenda. On another 4-0 vote, selectmen supported the article. Based on the net town appropriation, Brown projected the town’s portion of the tax bills coming out soon will be $11.93, up 13 cents from the current figure of $11.80. In his tax breakdown, Brown has the Sullivan County tax rate going down 3 cents to $2.86 per $1,000 of property valuation. The State Education Tax is down 2 cents at $2.34, according to Brown’s projections. Newport’s total tax rate was not available as the school tax rate has yet to be set. The 2018-19 rate was $13.56. Newport’s net local valuation for 2019-20 is $433,249,619, down from the 2018-19 valuation of $435,103,216. “The town goal is to get tax bills out in November,” Brown related. “I hope to have the Newport tax rate by the next board meeting on Nov. 4th,” he revealed. The resignation of Elizabeth Cassorla from the Zoning Board of Adjustment was accepted. Timothy Beard was moved from Alternate to Full Member with a term to expire in June 2020.