Nineteen out of twenty entities who submitted requests will receive a portion of the $150,000 in Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) funds.
Nome’s City Council divvied up the 2017 NSEDC Community Benefit Share money last night during a work session and regular meeting. The Council awarded the largest portion of the funds to Nome’s Preschool, although not the full amount they requested.
The Preschool will receive $35,000, and Nome’s Mayor Richard Beneville plans to give them the rest of the $50,000 they asked for later on in the year through the City budget process.
Before making their final decision on how to distribute the NSEDC funds, the Council added on some extra money to the Nome Community Center’s award of $39,000, which was suggested by Councilman Gerald Brown.
“I would like to propose an amendment to add $4,500 to the Nome Community Center, undesignated. They can put that to whichever program among these four, that they wish to put it towards.”
With that successful amendment, the NCC got four separate awards, worth a total of $43,500, to use for the XYZ Senior Center, Camp Crave, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Food Bank. Each requesting entity walked away with at least $1,500 except for the Nome Public Schools’ Bridge Club, who received no funding.
In other business, the Council approved an ordinance in the first reading phase to extend the date for payments on City property taxes. City Manager Tom Moran and City Clerk Bryant Hammond explain how this change will improve the system’s efficiency:
“Moran: Every single time a bill comes in postmarked after the due date, we are not running penalty interest. We have chosen not to do that because it’s so much work, so then we accept all these late ones and then we have to run penalty and interest and go back with the ones that came late. It’s just very convoluted.
Hammond: And generally we’re looking at the volume of the postmarked okays, and once that starts to subside, then we run penalty and interest, and invariably there’s always late ones that come in after that; then we have to go in and totally adjust by hand.”
Before adjourning the regular meeting, the Council gave Moran the go-ahead to enter into an agreement with Bristol Engineering Services Corporation (BESC) and John Blees.
Moran mentioned that the Acting City Engineer position does not have to go out to bid, since the City has been contracting with BESC since 2003:
“We have discussed this, about whether we should be going out to bid for City Attorney and City Engineer services, under the procurement policy, so we did get an opinion a few years back from the City Attorney that says historical knowledge is enough to negate that requirement. So, the fact that Bristol Engineering has been doing it now for 15 years, the fact that they are so engrained in almost everything that happens at City Hall, permit reviews; the City Attorney has said ‘no, you can go ahead and do this without soliciting competitive bids.’”
According to Moran, the City has a capped amount of $30,000 set aside in their budget to contract with BESC and Blees for engineering services.
Nome’s City Council will convene again on January 22nd for their next regular meeting.
Image at top: City of Nome Council Chambers. File photo: Margaret DeMaioribus, KNOM.