During a 3 hour and 12 minute meeting on Wednesday night, Newport City Council spent a good amount of time discussing two resolutions that would generate more revenue for the city.

During discussions, several City Council members brought up that these two resolutions were introduced to them during a recent City Council and Legislature Workshop.

Also during discussions on both resolutions, City Council members made the point that these taxes are necessary to help with infrastructure and the need to improve Newport Public Schools, Rogers High School.

An important note – For both resolutions, the copy of the passed resolutions will now be passed on to the City’s legislation. Only upon introduction and passage at the State House would the resolutions come back before City Council for another discussion, fine tuning, and another vote (in other words – both are far off from becoming law anytime soon, and in my opinion have a low chance of going anywhere at the State House this session, but you never know).

Request to Legislative to Introduce Legislation to the RI General Assembly to amend RIGL 44-25-1 “Real Estate Conveyance Tax”

This resolution would allow the City to levy an additional tax upon real estate property transfers/sales (not to exceed 2%) of the purchase price.

The Resolution

The Discussion & Vote

After quite a long conversation and more than a dozen residents taking the time to speak in front of Newport City Council, this resolution passed 5 – 2 with McCalla, Taylor, Bova, and McLaughlin voting for and Napolitano and Leonard against.

Discussion starts at 35:00

Request to Legislative to Introduce Legislation to the RI General Assembly to amend RIGL 44-5 “Levy and Assessment of Local Taxes”

This resolution appeared in the resolution as an admissions tax where the city could tax any place that sold tickets for amusement, sport, or recreation a new tax that would not exceed 3% of the sales/admissions price of the respective event.

Councilor Leonard quickly introduced an amendment to the original resolution (pictured below) to include only organizations or venues that sell more than 20,000 admissions/tickets per year.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, International Tennis Hall Of Fame, and Newport Festival Foundation’s Newport Folk Festival Newport Jazz Festival were among the events/venues that were mentioned by Council members that would be among the organizations where a per head tax would be enforced. Each of the mentioned organizations are not-for-profits.

Other venues that could be close to or exceeding that 20,000 admission/ticket mark annually (now or in the future) that come to the top of my mind are Newport Restoration Foundation, Jane Pickens Theater, Newport Opera House, Fort Adams Trust, and Audrain Automobile Museum.

The Discussion & Vote

This resolution passed 6 – 1 with just Councilor McLaughlin voting against the final version of the resolution..

(Correction – An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the resolution was passed 7-0. The amendment moved forward with a 7-0 vote, the resolution passed 6-1.)

Discussion starts at approximately 2:00:00

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.