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Newport Approves Development Incentives, Prepares for Meter Upgrades

The City of Newport is slated for upgrades to smart meters by Duke Energy, and the city commission approved a slew of incentives to spur development.

Representatives from Duke Energy told city leaders on Monday night that the utility's smart meters are being added in Newport, following Kenton and Boone counties.

“The newly installed devices will be connect to devices installed on poles which can be read over the airwaves and have the ability to be read every day,” said Bob Reese, of Duke Energy.

Roughly 14,400 gas and electric meters are scheduled to be upgraded in Newport, with just over three quarters being upgraded by contractors and the rest to be serviced directly by Duke Energy.  

According to Duke Energy in a 2017 press release, “the new smart meters are part of Duke Energy's commitment to building a smarter energy future. The investment in the digital technology will improve reliability and help the company meet the changing needs and expectations of customers.”

In addition, the city commission approved multiple ordinances designed to spur development in Newport.

Five ordinances were approved at Monday night's meeting to ensure that the planned rehab of four homes and the development of one vacant lot move forward. The approval of the ordinances were necessary steps, according to the Community Services Block Grant received due to a joint application for funds submitted by Neighborhood Foundations and Newport Millennium Housing Corporation III.

There were also ordinances approved to grant property owners a property assessment moratorium.

“It's the most that we’ve seen in awhile,” said City Manager Fromme. “And from the City’s perspective, it's a good program.”

According to the city’s website, the Property Assessment Moratorium Program was enacted by the city to, “defer the added value of improvements from the taxable assessment of their property for a period of five years.”

“This is a catalyst for improvements for the Westside,” Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso said. “It’s a good time and I'm really excited about it!”

The properties include 913 York Street, 946 York Street, 808 Isabella Street, 901 Monroe Street, 845 Overton Street, 730 Maple Street, 740 Linden Avenue, 402 West 9th Street, 923 Monroe Street, and 208 East 8th Street.

Written by Kareem Simpson, RCN contributor