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City Council Delays Budget Vote, Bowing to Nome Statute Requiring Advance Notice

Double doors with a small placard reading "Council Chambers."

The Nome City Council could not pass a budget during Monday night’s meeting, after a city mandate was not met.

“These were not noticed in the newspaper for the statutorily required time.”

That’s City Clerk Bryant Hammond. The City Code requires that budget ordinances have five days of public notice in the local paper or other media outlets before final passage. But, Hammond says they were only put out the day before the regular meeting.

The Council decided to move the final reading on the budget back two weeks to the next City Council meeting, ensuring plenty of time for public review.

Port Director Joy Baker shared an unhappy discovery made at the West Gold Dock in Nome late Monday afternoon.

“We found a ten-foot split just down between two cells in the seam.”

Action is being taken so that the dock will not be used, and Baker says engineers are already assessing the damage. She doesn’t believe the damage was caused by any accident or misuse but simply by age. Baker says, “the sheet pile’s got a life of 25 to 30 years old… and she’s 30 years old.”

Baker thinks that the damage was caught before it became extreme, but she does caution the Council that the other docks at the port are aging, too. Those are the kinds of things the port needs money for, the “normal wear and tear,” and she says the city hasn’t set aside money for port depreciation in years. Baker urged the Council to join the Port Commission in their upcoming work session to discuss finances. That is scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) at 5:30pm.

The Council had slim attendance Monday night and barely met quorum of four members until Councilmember Meghan Topkok dialed in by phone. Both new business items passed and went to second reading.

Road dust in and around Nome continues to be a concern, with multiple citizens offering advice on the issue during public comments. City Manager John Handeland said that, for now, the city will keep the originally agreed upon gravel aggregate. Though a different solution could mean less dust, it would also mean more mud, a compromise the City thinks is unwise.

The Nome City Council is scheduled to meet again on June 24.

Image at top: The entrance to the Nome City Council chambers. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM file.