Mulkin Seeks Tax Break on Newport Property

NEWPORT CITY – Monday evening the council approved a request by Jim Mulkin of JM & MM, for a six-year tax stabilization. Mulkin wants to build a new 14,000 square foot building on Duchess Street and add a small addition to an existing building, which currently houses Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS). The North Country Supervisory Union has plans to move into Mulkin’s new building once NKHS relocates to its new location on the Crawford Road in Derby. Mulkin also has plans to tear down the former Broadview Hospital Building, across the street, which also houses some NKHS offices. He hopes to construct a new building there for some other tenant.The move will likely add three new jobs at the supervisory union. However, Mayor Paul Monette, who wasn’t sure that three jobs are enough to justify a tax stabilization, said it's generally reserved to companies adding a minimum of 15 to 20 new jobs. “What we are doing is bringing people back into that location to replace people who are moving out,” said Mulkin. “We’re getting rid of an old, old building that really doesn’t have any potential use.”The supervisory union move will free up space for potential employers in its current location, said Alderman Tim de la Bruere. He also said that employees might stop at stores in Newport City.The current tax value on the building and land on Duchess Avenue is between $500,000 and $600,000. Mulkin estimates the value of the new building will be $1.3 million. In other business, anyone wishing to apply for a building permit in Newport City will have to pay more for the permit fee. Ward said there has not been a fee increase for six years. The fees went from $60 to $70 to meet revenue needs.Zoning administrator Paul Dreher, for example, works 40 hours a week but receives pay for 32 hours a week. The money for the remaining hours comes from grants and he uses the extra time writing and applying for grants.Alderman Richard Baraw said Newport is not raising enough revenue and raising fees is the easiest way to do it. Many applicants are surprised that permitting fees are not more than they are, Dreher said.Monette said he isn’t a fan of increasing fees to raise revenue.The fees won’t be much of a burden on the average person, said Dreher. The square footage fees are ten cents for commercial properties and eight cents a square foot for residential property.The council also granted permission to Adrian Yellow, who asked to rent a room at the city dock boathouse. Yellow will rent the room at $25 a day for one day a week. This is the first time someone requested to rent the space for some time.The council also approved a request to close the Bluff Road Sunday, June 24, for the annual Newport Area Soap Box Derby.