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Newport voters reject tax on restaurant meals and hike in gas tax

City of Newport
Voters in Newport turned down a pair of tax proposals in the Nov. 2021 election.

Voters in Newport have rejected a pair of tax proposals on the ballot that city leaders said were needed to prevent more cuts to services.

The two measures were both referred to the ballot by the Newport city council. Voters turned down both proposals by wide margins, according to returns posted by the Lincoln County Clerk's office.

One would have created a five percent tax on restaurant meals. The other would have raised the city’s gas tax to five cents per gallon year round. It’s currently either one cent or three cents depending on the time of year.

Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer said it comes after the city trimmed jobs from both its police and fire department over the past few years. "I feel so bad for our police and firemen right now, because they're working very, very hard with less staff," he said in an interview with KLCC Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to look at our budget going forward with the budget committee and the city council to figure out what other cuts we may have to make,” said Sawyer.

City leaders said both proposals were meant to raise revenue from tourists who use city services but who don’t directly contribute to the city’s tax base.

Elsewhere in Lincoln County, voters in the North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District gave a resounding approval to a five-year tax levy proposal. The exact same proposal had narrowly failed during the May election.

Voters in the Seal Rock Fire Protection District also approved a local option tax. But voters in the Yachats Rural Fire Protection District rejected a funding proposal.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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