The city of Newport will soon be host to a solar panel project.

According to information made available by the Newport City Clerk’s office, White River Medical Center is putting a multimillion-dollar solar panel array in the field on McClain Street west of where the old Newport Hospital stood. The array is to be built by Memphis-based Entegrity Energy Partners with a single axis tracker model. Mayor David Stewart said the solar array would serve the medical center rather than the city, but noted Newport would reap benefits from its construction.

“There will be workers coming in,” he said, “and they will be staying in hotels and eating in our restaurants.”

The council unanimously approved an ordinance to waive competitive bidding to repair a failed gravity sewer line in the area of Bryant Street. Estimated cost of the repair exceeds the $35,000 threshold at which competitive bidding is required. In addition, the council approved an emergency clause by which the ordinance takes effect upon its passage.

The council also approved Bill Keedy to serve on the Newport Airport Commission. Mayor Stewart said incumbent Andrew Jones has received a promotion and will no longer be able to serve on the commission. Keedy’s term expires Sept. 30, 2025.

And the council approved a resolution for the city’s ad valorem taxes to remain the same for 2022, at five mills for the city’s General Fund and one mill for the Firemen’s Pension Fund.

The city’s Sewer Department also received a clean audit report for 2020. According to information made available by the Newport City Clerk’s office, the report stated “In our opinion, the 2020 financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the modified cash basis financial position of the City of Newport, Arkansas Sewer Department as of Dec. 31, 2020, and the respective changes in modified cash basis financial position and modified cash basis cash flows for the year then ended, in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting as described in ... the financial statements.”

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