All fiscal year 2018 City of Nome budgets were passed last night. During the regular City Council meeting, seven different ordinances regarding City budgets were approved unanimously by all six councilmen.
Before passing the General Fund Municipal Budget, the Council had to amend the ordinance to reflect changes, such as the budget sum being slightly reduced, to $12,090,782.00. This expenditure decrease of $176,500 from the 1st draft was a result of many factors, such as the contribution to the Nome Preschool Association being $10,000 less this year.
Besides approving all City of Nome budgets, the Council also voted in favor of authorizing a lease agreement with Alaska Marine Lines. For a period of five years, beginning September 1st, Alaska Marine Lines will pay the City $1,540.86 a week for two blocks of property at the Port of Nome.
Regarding another property ordinance, however, the Council couldn’t get the job done. The City was seeking to buy a piece of land from Arctic Gold Mining that would potentially be used as a fire-fighting training facility in the future.
City Manager Tom Moran weighed in on the benefits of the 5-acre property:
“We need this property, it’s valuable. The current fire chief has plans of maybe getting grant money to construct a real fire-training facility on it. The water resource is very valuable, but I do think that it’s worth the money, and we can definitely use it for our troops,” Moran explained.
Councilman Louie Green, Sr., questioned if the City’s current lease agreement with Arctic Gold Mining would continue if they didn’t purchase the property.
Moran responded, “I can’t guarantee that the lease is going to remain. I can guarantee that this price is under assessed value, and I can guarantee that we are going to have a tough time getting grant money to build the fire-training area if we don’t own it (the property). That’s all I can tell you.”
When it came down to a vote, the results were three in favor, two opposed, and one abstained as Councilman Mark Johnson declared a conflict of interest. Due to the abstention vote, there were not four votes in favor, so the ordinance technically could not pass; however, Moran said the motion could potentially be reconsidered in the future.
Mayor Richard Beneville led the Council in completing one last piece of business before entering into executive session: filling a vacant Port Commission seat.
“The applications, there are three: they are Denise Michels, Shawn Pomrenke, and Ronald S. Lemmons. A couple of them, the applications, they are not very in depth, and in our last appointment, we decided that if they don’t want to fill out the application, we aren’t going to consider it,” stated Beneville. “Having said that, I am going to recommend that the Council approves Denise Michels come onboard to the Port Commission.”
Michels’ appointment was approved by a unanimous decision.
Nome’s City Council will convene again on June 26th for their next regular meeting at City Hall.