Name of fuel facility to honor Nome's Frankie Okleasik

The Nome Common Council introduced an ordinance Monday night on a City property sale and peacefully passed six resolutions—three to buy services, and one each for safety and savings, payback for City services, and a thank you note for community service to the late Franklin D. Okleasik.

A unanimous vote of appreciation for Frankie Okleasik’s contributions lead up to a public dedication of Bonanza’s new Franklin D. Okleasik Tank Farm and City of Nome’s new Franklin D. Okleasik Avenue on Friday, July 8.

The resolution notes Okleasik was a family man and an eager basketball player in high school and adulthood and spent many hours serving as an official score and time keeper for years.
“Mr. Okleasik served a significant but humble role in making Nome a better community through his work ethic and community support, with a constant smile and kind word for all who crossed his path,” one part of the resolution said.

Okleasik, born in Teller, arrived in Nome by dogsled at the age of five and became a life-long resident of Nome, serving the community in various capacities. Okleasik held jobs as a public employee delivering water by truck; serving the public as an employee at both Wien Air Alaska and Alaska Airlines; working on public construction projects, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Safety Sound Bridge.

After a first retirement, Okleasik started a new career in fuel delivery and then as terminal manager for Bonanza Fuel.
In other business the council voted into first reading an ordinance approving a sale to Kawerak of the large blue building on East Fifth Street currently leased to Kawerak for early childhood education.  The Nome Code of Ordinances allows the council to dispose of property to a government entity or any other entity providing a necessary public service without seeking bids and for less than the current assessed or appraised value of the City’s interest in the real property.  Interest in the property disposed of would revert to the City in the event the property is not being used to provide the public service justifying the original disposal.
The council could not discuss the ordinance in first reading, only when it comes up for second reading and final passage at a subsequent meeting. However, during council comment period at the end of the meeting, Councilman Matt Culley said he had not agreed to the price stated in the ordinance — $1.5 million—during discussion of the sale in executive session at a previous council meeting.

In other action, the council approved a resolution approving a contract with Legislative Consultants of Alaska, in other words, Wendy Chamberlain, for lobbying services for spending year 2017 for $75,000, payable at $15,000 per month January through May 2017.  In recent budget discussions, council members questioned the need for a lobbyist when the state is cutting back.

However, the resolution starts off with the idea that the City has determined it serves the best interest of the community to retain a lobbyist in Juneau to pursue grant funds and legislative issues on behalf of City of Nome. The city has retained Chamberlain since 2008; however, this year Port of Nome will pick up the tab because the because LCIA lobbied to get $1.6 million added to the state’s capital budget for the design of a deep draft port in Nome. The Port Commission and Council approved the $75,000 line item in the Port Operating Fund.


In other business, the council:

• Approved the City’s contract effective July 1 with Nome Chamber of Commerce to operate Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau and provide visitor and tourism services as it has since 2008, and to provide quarterly written reports. Bob Hafner is the executive director of the Nome Chamber of Commerce.  The contract is for one year, plus another year if both parties agree to the extension. Subject to annual appropriation by the council, the City will pay the Chamber monthly payments of $11,751.94 per month from July 1 until June 30, 2017 to operate the Visitor Center and pursue a list of tourism goals. The eight-page contract spells out the obligations of the City and Chamber, including operating hours —at a minimum five days per week during winter and seven days a week in summer with hours tailored to best meet visitor demand.  Hours may approximately match business hours in number except for holidays, including Iron Dog and Iditarod, with at least one paid employee during all operating hours. The contract can be cancelled with six month’s notice by either the City or Chamber. The Chamber willingly took a 6 percent cut in budget this year, according to Moran.

• Approved an agreement for planning and consulting services with Eileen Bechtol of Bechtol Planning and Development, the City’s contract planner since 2001. The tab: $60 an hour with total cost not to exceed $20,000. The City will provide Bechtol a vehicle when she is in Nome for planning.  The City wishes Bechtol to continue working on the zoning code, a community rating system, subdivision code revisions and other issues desired by the Nome Planning Commission.

• Approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Tom Moran to enter an agreement with state Department of Public Safety to provide Dispatch Services.

• Approved a resolution adopting an Alaska Municipal League and Joint Insurance Association Risk Management Plan for the City of Nome.  Adopting such a plan makes the City eligible for a Loss Control Incentive Discount. To meet a major requirement for participation, the City must provide monthly safety briefings, already included in scheduled department head meetings. The  City has participated since 2007, with an estimated savings of $13,281 anticipated for FY 2017, according to Tom Moran, city manager.

Council and City staff passed compliments to several citizens during the meeting—Briday Green and family for the Midnight Sun activity lot across from Subway, all others who helped put on other activities; Todd Hindman, teacher at Anvil Science Academy who is moving to Homer; Bryant Hammond, city clerk and winner of the annual Stroke n’ Croak triathlon; and Megan Alvanna –Stimpfle, slated to be a speaker at the next Alaska Federation of Natives Conference.
On Green: “The activities—Native dancing, music, crafts sales—were a nice accent and complement to Midnight Sun activities,” Mayor Richard Beneville said. Todd  Hindman has been a community supporter “in school, outside of school and for the school,” Councilman Lew Tobin said. “We hope Homer uses him well.” On Hammond in Stroke and Croak: “He is a cheater. He can swim very fast. He dominated everyone,” said a fellow competitor, Councilman Matt “Sour Grapes” Culley.




The Nome Nugget

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Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
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