opinion Newport Rhode Island

My name is Liam Barry. I’ve lived in Newport for 15 years and it’s where I chose to raise my family. I have two great sons in the Newport Public Schools system so I’m an advocate for maintaining a high educational standard for all our Newport children. I’m currently Vice Chair of the Newport Planning Board. This role has allotted me valuable experience, including land use, zoning and special use permitting affairs, as well as knowledge of Newport’s political structure and ordinances. I also coach Middletown Youth Soccer and am a St Joseph’s parishioner.

I’ve walked every street of the second ward since Tuesday and have received both positive feedback and constructive criticism on my ideas. Here are some of those ideas :

To Newport property taxpayers, I will vote against any measure that raises the base tax rate and fight hard to reduce it. There should be enough additional revenue coming in to cover any inflationary cost increases of running the city.

To Newport renters and those wishing to jump on the property ladder, I propose we build starter homes on land previously designated for low-income housing. In addition to this, let’s also build modestly sized apartments at city-owned properties, such as the old schools and north end, which by their nature would be affordable to all. We could also incentivize developers at privately owned developments to construct modestly priced apartments. I feel its better to mandate to a builder to keep the apartments smaller in size rather than mandating a rental rate they have to charge.

Once a decision has been made to sell/develop a city property, an open meeting should take place to hear ideas, that should be followed by placing a “For Sale” sign outside. We should then review all the bid proposals along with any zoning change proposals in an open meeting forum. We should follow the model of RIDOT with the process they are undertaking with the north end ramp proposals in terms of outreach and discussing concerns. Once city council and the public have reviewed the bid proposals, only then should a P&S be signed.

Let’s commence a conversation with organizations in Newport that are using city services but not paying full property tax rates in order to receive a better contribution from them.

Let’s introduce term limits on all council and board positions so new ideas can be introduced every 6 or 8 years.

Should you wish to contact me for more information, my facebook page is liamforcouncil.

I’d be honored to get your vote.

Liam Barry
Ward 2 City Council Candidate

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