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Johnson Takes Councilman’s Oath; Water & Sewer Rates Go Up In Nome

During last night's Nome City Council meeting, Mark Johnson was sworn in as a new Councilman by City Clerk Bryant Hammond. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2016)

Five councilmen held a work session, swore in a new member of the Nome Common Council, and approved the amendment to increase Nome Joint Utility System’s water and sewer tariff rates at City Hall on Monday night.

Mark Johnson was sworn into office by City Clerk Bryant Hammond during the City Council’s regular meeting. For Johnson and his now fellow councilmen, only one piece of unfinished business was on the agenda last night, which passed four votes to one.

Changes are coming for people who pay water and sewer residential rates under schedule A, and for those who pay for commercial or industrial metered service under schedule B. According to NJUS manager John Handeland, this increase in water and sewer rates is the result of a rate study done 2 years ago.

“…And so, the change for a senior who gets a reduced rate is about $6 a month, (and) the change for a regular residential is about $9.81 a month,” said Handeland.

Also sitting in front of the Council was a new ordinance that passed despite one vote in opposition from Councilman Louie Green, Sr. Green questioned why a new ordinance was needed, requiring all candidates for elected and appointed office to have no undisputed financial obligations owed to the City. City Manager Tom Moran gave further explanation.

Green asked, “a voter is wanting to run for office, why would we treat that person different than the average person around town?” Moran replied, “We wouldn’t, I think that’s kind of the point. Are you saying that we are holding elected officials to a higher standard? I think that’s the exact answer… if you’re going to volunteer your time for the City of Nome you should be in good graces with the City of Nome.”

Three new resolutions all moved on to the second reading with “yes” votes from all present Council members. One of those resolutions stated that parties qualified to sign items such as checks and warrants against the City of Nome account be named.

Before adjourning to executive session, three appointments to the Port Commission and one to the Library Commission were made. Scot Henderson and Shane Smithhisler received seats on the Port Commission while Howard Farley was reappointed to the Museum and Library Commission. Derek McLarty was removed from the Planning Commission in order to be put on the Port Commission.

The Nome City Council will meet for its next regularly scheduled meeting on December 12th at City Hall.