NEWPORT — When it comes to capital improvements, it seems unlikely that the Town of Newport will go too far astray anytime during the next 25 years.
At least it shouldn’t if the year-by-year guideline covering the years of 2020-21 to 2044-45 proves to be on target.
Those projected numbers for a variety of projects that are expected to surface during that span were given their first inspection by the five-member Newport Board of Selectmen at its Monday night meeting. And the Selectmen liked what they saw for the initial time.
Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg suggested the board members review the spreadsheet containing all the numbers and discuss any changes they would like to see. New projects can be added and some on the current list may be withdrawn.
“The whole idea is to do away with budget spikes,” Rieseberg revealed.
The Newport Highway Department has $165,450 budgeted every other year to purchase a new dump truck with attachments. A grader costing $344,000 is budgeted in the 2022-23 year and again in 2039-40. In another area of the capital improvement plan, seven of the 25 years have $240,000 budgeted to purchase new ambulances.
Based on projections, all Town of Newport departments will get a piece of the budgeting action on a periodic basis, some annually, as a result of the carefully prepared plan.
When preparing the plan, Newport Finance Director Paul Brown said he budgeted an inflation rate of 2 percent per year. Brown carefully reviewed the printout and fielded several questions from the board.
Road overlay (paving) was budgeted at $250,000 every year while sidewalks were allocated $110,000 annually.
The water and sewer departments will also have a long-range capital improvement plan, Brown stated, while responding to a question from Selectman Todd Fratzel.
Later in Monday’s meeting that lasted nearly three hours, Rieseberg updated the board on paving and sidewalk projects.
“Crosswalk painting is a little bit behind as the green painted crosswalks are being ground off before returning to the white paint. “The end result has been good so far,” the town manager noted.
The new sidewalks at the southerly end of Main Street are nearly 100 percent completed. At this point the sidewalk along Park Street is being replaced.
The sidewalk in front of Newport Circuit Court will also get a facelift. The current cement sidewalk in place will be removed and a new cement sidewalk installed. The hydrant and flagpole will be relocated, the court sign moved and new street lamps installed.
The grass area and plants in front of the courthouse will be upgraded, according to Rieseberg. This project will reveal a “community that cares about its infrastructure,” he continued.