The Nome Common Council voted on April 4 to officially recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Mayor John Handeland asked City Clerk Bryant Hammond to read the entire text of the resolution aloud at the meeting, rather than just the title as usual, in order to emphasize its importance.
The resolution committed the city “to working with its local partners to end child abuse within its corporate limits.” Those local partners include Kawerak, Inc. Kawerak’s Child Advocacy Center has organized child and family-focused events throughout the month to increase awareness of the issue, culminating in the annual Children’s March on April 28.
The council also authorized the city to apply for federal grant money to support the ongoing port expansion project. If awarded, the money would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program.
The grants would fund two smaller projects which will support the overall port expansion. The first is the development of the Thornbrush site, an 18-acre industrial pad near the port. The second is the development of local service facilities. These “consist of docks, bridge, roads and utilities” which will interface with the general navigation features of the overall port expansion project, according to the grant application. The city is requesting about $6.3 million in RAISE funds for the two projects.
In addition to the port expansion, Nome is moving ahead with plans to upgrade the heating and ventilation systems in City Hall and the Nome Recreation Center. The council authorized the city to contract RSA Engineering in Anchorage for the work. The construction schedule hasn’t been set, but according to the resolution, RSA’s quote for the upgrades came to $478,000 for both buildings.
Finally, the council briefly discussed suspending Nome’s usual summer sales tax increase. Normally, sales tax in Nome increases from 5% to 7% during the months of May, June, July and August, but the council has suspended the rate increase every year since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. The council will vote at its next meeting on whether to suspend the rate increase again in 2022.
The Nome Common Council will meet next on Monday, April 25.
Image at top: Mayor John Handeland (left) and Council Members Mark Johnson (right) and Jerald Brown (far right) at the April 4 Nome Common Council meeting. Photo by Sean Milligan, KNOM (2022).