Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The 2017 Annual Report was presented at the February 26, 2018 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. City Manager Tom Fromme reviewed highlights in his "State of the City" address. The full report can be viewed here.
Newport is poised for more economic development and job growth this year but also must deal with the challenges of aging infrastructure and rising pension costs, City Manager Tom Fromme said in his 2018 State of the City Address.
Projects such as the planned Skywheel at Newport on the Levee,the redevelopment of the former Fourth Street Elementary School into the Academy on 4th residential and retail development, the recently completed New Riff Distilling rickhouse bourbon storage facility near the Licking River and the scheduled completion of Ky Route 9 on the city's west end are fueling optimism for 2018, Fromme said.
"In the past we have stated that if economic conditions would stay favorable, we would project the total value of developments to exceed $1 billion over 10 years," the city manager said. "Nothing at this point causes us to waiver from that forecast. In the foreseeable future, we anticipate several new developments to occur. Many of these potential developments are a mixed use of residential and commercial."
Newport is also on solid financial footing with a cash balance of more than $3 million while investing approximately $2.3 million in capital improvements in 2017, including $800,000 in street repairs.
Portions of the following streets were repaved during 2017: Clifton Avenue, Columbia Street, Dayton Street, Hodge Street, Linden Avenue, Lindsey Street, McHenry Street, Thornton Street and West 9th Street.
"During the current fiscal year, we anticipate spending several hundred thousand dollars in street repairs," Fromme said, adding that the lists of streets scheduled for repair will be posted on the city's website at www.newportky.gov.
"We are dealing with an aging infrastructure that requires a significant amount of maintenance and repair," he said. "There has already been a considerable amount of money spent, but this must continue on a lasting basis. During the new few years, we should anticipate spending several million dollars on infrastructure related projects."
Other major accomplishments in Newport during 2017 included:
During 2018, the city's goals include continued redevelopment of residential and commerical properties, focusing on quality of life issues such as parks and recreation and maintaining a safe, walkable community.
"From a fiscal perspective, we continue working on growing revenues, keeping our expenses reasonable, reducing and eliminating the use of Tax Anticipation Notes (TAN), debt service and implementing our new financial management software," Fromme said.
Challenges in 2018 include increasing pension costs of as much as $1.2 million and the growing costs of providing city services.
"The cost of service delivery keeps growing, mainly due to increasing personnel costs," Fromme said. "These costs make up a considerable amount of our annual budget."
As he has done in past State of the City addresses, Fromme urged Northern Kentucky cities to consider merging services to operate more efficiently.
"It is time for our elected leaders to embrace consolidation initiatives in order to provide critical services into the future," he said.