Council doles out the NSEDC Community Benefit cash
At its regular meeting Jan. 23, the Nome Common Council made final the distribution of this year’s NSEDC Community Benefit Share.
Thirteen local organizations will share $150,000. Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. requires the 16 member villages receiving the CBS to involve public input in deciding the best use of the annual awards.
The following groups applied and have been promised these amounts which will be dispersed in three stages upon receiving documentation of expenditures: Nome Kennel Club, $3,000 (original request, $5,000); Iditarod Trail Committee, $10,000 (original request, $10,000); Bering Sea Women’s Group, $10,000 ($10,000); Nome Preschool, $45,000 ($45,000); Nome Children’s Home, $10,000 ($10,000); Camp Crave, $8,000 ($10,000); Nome Food Bank, $4,000 ($15,000); Nome Boys and Girls Club, $10,000 ($15,000); Youth Hockey Assn., $10,000 ($10,000); Nome Nanooks Swim Team, $5,000 ($5,000); NEST (Nome Emergency Shelter Team), $20,000 ($20,000); Checkpoint Youth Center, $5,000 ($5,300); Nome Northstar Swim Team, $10,000 ($18,250).
Some of the organizations awarded funding have not yet provided a budget. That will be required before they receive any of their awards, Councilman Stan Andersen said.
In other business, the council:
• Reached no consensus in a work session concerning the seasonal sales tax approved by voters that would increase the sales tax from five percent to seven percent in summer season to have visitors help pay for City services. Council members did not agree on sales tax exemptions but several times turned in the direction of agreement on exempting heating fuel and pull-tabs. He was a senior and interested in exemptions on food and liquor, Andersen said. The Council will meet again to consider exemptions.
• Heard Pat Krier, an owner of Polar Cafe tell the Council the local businesses wouldn’t mind a sales tax to help the City, but in return needed the backing of the City for economic growth and an atmosphere in which business could thrive.
• Approved the transfer of three taxi licenses from EZ Cab (Steve Longley) to Mr. Kab (Peters LLC), over the protest of Rodney Jones, owner of Checker Cab. There are 13 taxi licenses in Nome—too many for dwindling demand, Jones told the Council, which would make driving unprofitable for taxi drivers. The Council will be looking at sales tax records to get an idea how much Nome’s taxi drivers make and whether some taxi permits need to be rescinded. The original resolution called for the City to rescind one of Longley’s licenses, transfer two of Longley’s to Mr. Kab, and rescind one license held by Jones. That would reduce the number of license held by Checker Cab to six and increase Mr. Kab’s licenses to five. However, the Council amended the resolution to approve the transfer of the Longley’s three licenses to Mr. Kab.
• Approved Nome Joint Utility System’s 2017 operation and maintenance spending plan.
• Voted into first reading budget adjustments for the City’s seven-part 2017 spending plan. The council put off second reading and the vote on final passage until Feb. 27, as several council members would be out of town in the next two weeks and unable to attend a budget work session.
• Received notice from state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office that Robin Thomas, doing business as “Goodlief Organization” had applied for a Limited Marijuana Cultivation Facility License. To protest the license, the City or an individual would have to provide to Thomas and the Control Office director a clear and concise written statement of the reasons for protest within 60 days, which would fall in mid-March. Thomas’ place of operation would be 303-C West E Street, a sufficient distance from any youth center or church, according to Tom Moran, city manager.