City's vehicle maintenance and repair goes to Nome Machine Works

A contract to keep the City of Nome’s vehicles running smoothly has gone to Nome Machine Works. The Nome Common Council approved the award at its regular meeting July 11.

For the past two years, Trinity Sails Repair, operated by Rolland Trowbridge, has held one contract to maintain all vehicles—light, heavy equipment and emergency response vehicles. Before then, Nome Machine Works, operated by Matt Johnson, had the contract for some years.

When TSR’s contract expired, the city split the job into three bids on the three vehicle classifications. Both mechanic shops responded, but Nome Machine Works underbid TSR’s hourly charge by $5 in each of the three categories.
City administration and Nome Volunteer Fire Department had been happy with TSR’s work performance, but “we’re obligated to go with the lowest qualified bidder,” Tom Moran, city manager, said. “Mr. Trowbridge and staff did an excellent job on our equipment.”

In public comment at the beginning of the meeting, Trowbridge took the podium, thanking the council for the past two years of business with his company.

“We have treated each vehicle as our own,” he said. “We look forward to someday doing it again.”

Councilman Stan Andersen asked that someone keep track of how much money went into each vehicle. “Somebody has to pay attention to what the hell is going on,” he said.

Finance Director Julie Liew and Trowbridge had instituted a tracking system of work and invoices, Moran said. Andersen abstained from voting on the contract approval, saying that his son worked at Nome Machine Works.

In other business, the council:

• Referred several tax exemption issues–late filing, incorrect filing—to City Manager Tom Moran for administrative solutions.

• Approved a senior property tax exemption for Marv Poyourow who was away with his spouse on medical travel status during the winter when the application was due; the U.S. Mail did not find its way through the rain, sleet nor snow, maybe not even the darkness of night, with an application for him to mail back to City of Nome.

• Unanimously voted to slate an ordinance into second reading and a vote at its next reading to add the duties of historical commission to the Nome Planning Commission. The ordinance makes Nome eligible to make grant proposals for money for historical preservation.

• Voted unanimously to open the bars three hours early on Sunday, Aug. 21, to accommodate a thousand plus tourists coming ashore from the Crystal Serenity. He did not think they were coming into town to drink, Councilman Stan Andersen said.

• Received a report from John Handeland, NJUS utility manager, who said he expected the summer fuel barge to arrive in 10 to 15 days with the year’s diesel supply for power generators. The utility has several projects underway—crews repairing the wind generator, revised lighting on the new Snake River Bridge heading for completion, NJUS crews straightening poles along East Front Street, seemingly affected by Quintillion’s work to install a cable to bring rapid broadband service into Nome. Handeland warned that water and sewer work would have trucks in the middle of roads over manholes as staff flushed water mains of debris, solids and grease.

Both Mayor Richard Beneville and Moran thanked the volunteers for dedicated search for Joseph Balderas, 36, who went missing near Mile 44 of Nome-Council Highway. Balderas has not been found. About 100 searchers had looked for nine days with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard, federal Fish and Wildlife, Bering Air and other organizations, Moran said.

“Our town is a cool and caring community,” Beneville said. “We live near the wilderness; we all must be careful.” He also felt sorry for the searchers who did not come back with what they needed, Beneville added. He also thanked supporters who brought water, food, cookies—all in all a “wonderful effort with a very sad ending.”

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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