With Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s signature on Friday morning, the $8.94 billion 2017 state budget bill passed by the General Assembly is now law.

In the 2017 budget, legislators eliminated the Community Service Grant program in favor of two transparent methods of funding community organizations: itemized budget appropriations and competitive programs, both administered by state agencies. The total of the two programs is about $6 million, down from more than $11 million in the current year’s budget.

With the new way of funding grants, the $225,000 grant that has been awarded annually to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce since 2003 was not included in the 2017 budget.

Tom Walsh for Newport This Week published an informative story on the Chamber Grant Axed on June 9th.

With the lack of the grant in the upcoming year, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce was forced to lay off Sales Manager Ann Sweeny and Member Services Assistant Kathleen Papp last week.

The layoffs reduces the Chamber’s staff from eight to six.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).