A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fromme 2018 State of the City: Newport on solid financial footing, poised for additional growth

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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. “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.”

Riverfront Master Plan concept. Click to enlarge (provided).

Other major accomplishments in Newport during 2017 included:

  • Converting street lights to LED lighting in cooperation with Duke Energy
  • Opening of the Newport History Museum at The Southgate Street School
  • Replacement of 1,160 feet of deteriorated curbs
  • Implementation of the Monmouth Street Streetscape improvements, which will continue in 2018.

During 2018, the city’s goals include continued redevelopment of residential and commercial 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.”

To view the State of the City 2018 Annual Report, click here.

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.”

City of Newport

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