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NJUS Board Passes Resolutions on Infrastructure Financing, FY 2018 Budget

Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.

The Nome Joint Utility Systems Board, or NJUS Board, unanimously passed three resolutions at last night’s meeting. Resolution 18-01 accepted and approved the NJUS Fiscal Year 2018 Operations and Maintenance Budget, while Resolutions 18-02 and 18-03 allow NJUS to request refinancing of preexisting loans for water and wastewater projects, as well as the financing of a new loan for community water and wastewater infrastructure.

The multi-million-dollar loan balance referenced in Resolution 18-02 could cost NJUS significantly in interest, as General Manager John Handeland explains:

“If we continued the loans as they are, the principal amounts of 1.5 million would be paid off by the end of 2048, and through that period, we will have paid $900,000 in interest.”

NJUS would save almost $700,000 by refinancing these United States Department of Agriculture loans through two Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) loan funding programs. The loan would also be paid off nearly a decade before the current 2048 estimate.

While Resolution 18-02 only approves NJUS for their loan refinancing request, Handeland says,

“I guess I have reasonable faith that we will be able to get this into the DEC program.”

Also on the agenda was Resolution 18-03, which requested a new loan from ADEC for the water and sewer systems along Bering Street. During discussion on the resolution, Chairman of the board, Carl Emmons, inquired why Kings Place was not selected above Bering. Handeland reasoned that Bering is the higher priority:

“We do know Kings Place is a problem. Bering Street is a larger collector. If we lost Bering Street, I think that the impact is greater than if we lost King.”

The meeting concluded with board comments, which included numerous board members thanking NSEDC for their Energy Subsidy Program. Sign-ups for the $575 energy subsidy for Nome households continues at the NJUS downtown office from noon to 5:30pm through February 22nd.

The next NJUS board meeting will be held on March 20th at 7:30pm.

Image at top: file photo, Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.