Newport voters approve continued sales tax for economic development

by George Jared ([email protected]) 298 views 

A half-cent sales tax that funds the Newport Economic Development Commission was overwhelmingly passed Tuesday night (July 13) by city voters. In unofficial results, the tax renewal passed 421-161, a 72% margin.

Jon Chadwell, executive director of the Newport Economic Development Commission, told Talk Business & Politics the economic development funding was initially approved in 2002 with a ten-year sunset clause.

After the first decade, the voters went to the polls again and extended the funding until April of 2022. With April of 2022 approaching, the Newport City Council submitted a ballot measure for another election to give the voters the option of extending the economic development program for an additional ten years, through April of 2032.

“The commission will continue in its mission dedicated to the economic and community development of Newport and Jackson County for an additional ten years thanks to the voters of the city of Newport,” Chadwell said.

The Newport Economic Development Commission is governed by a nine-person city commission appointed by the mayor and the city council. Current commissioners include Scott Foushee, Jim Gowen, Sr., Nyesha Greer, Benjy Harris, Tommy Okada, Lee Scoggins, Dean Sides, and Mike Turner.

The commission oversees a staff of four employees including Chadwell, Julie Allen, PCED, director of chamber affairs, Courtney Baker, assistant director of financial and business services and Christel Taylor, assistant director of marketing and public relations.

The commission focuses on nine strategic objectives, Industrial development, site development, workforce development, community development, marketing development, organizational development, small business development, downtown development, and tourism development.

Each year, the Newport Economic Development Commission aligns its goals and action items around these nine objectives, basing the action items on public input, best practices research, and emerging opportunities. The Strategic Plan is adjusted and approved each year, Chadwell added.

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