Nome Common Council changes disposal of property ordinance
The Nome Common Council quickly took care of business in its regular meeting on Monday, March 22.
Added to the agenda was a resolution to usher in the next phase of the expansion of the Port of Nome. The council unanimously passed a resolution to sign an agreement with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to enter into the design phase for general navigation features and preconstruction. Port Director Joy Baker explained that the resolution is time sensitive and necessary to authorize the cost share agreement with the Corps. The price tag is $3.6 million, of which 25 percent, or $900,000 is the City’s responsibility. Baker explained that a state grant was set aside for that purpose, but the project is behind. Mayor John Handeland explained the holdup, saying that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had a problem to come up with the $2.7 million funds. “The Alaska Delegation urged the Corps to dig into the couch cushions and they did find the money,” Handeland said.
The Council voted in second reading to change the acquisition and disposal of city property. The City’s planning commission recommended to the council to allow for over-the-counter sales of city property after it went out to bid but didn’t receive any responses. “Any property offered for sale by sealed bid that is not sold to a bidder shall be available for sale at the minimum bid price over the counter on a first-come, first-served basis for a period 90 days following the date of the bid opening,” read Section 4e of the ordinance before the Council. Council member Jerald Brown motioned to amend the ordinance extending the period of time from 90 to 180 days after bid opening to give people more time to learn about the availability of real property and act on it. The motion carried, as did the main motion to change the ordinance.
In other business, the Council postponed action on an ordinance that sought to change the deadline to file a declaration of candidacy and extend the time in which candidates can file their intent to run for office. The purpose for changing the current deadline from 21 to 35 days prior to election date is that “it is in the public’s interest to avoid hasty printing, programming and testing of ballots and ballot counting machines,” the proposed ordinance reads. The ordinance will be addressed in a special council meeting set for April 5, at 6 p.m.
Filling in for City Manager Glenn Steckman, acting City Manager Chip Leeper reported that the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Wildlife Services Program is assisting the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to respond to an outbreak of rabies in the local red fox population in and around Nome. A team of biologists and rabies experts will assist ADF&G with removal of red fox from and around the City of Nome. Any red fox taken will be sampled and tested on-site for the rabies virus. The response is to reduce the population of red fox that may be carrying the rabies virus within and around the City of Nome. The team will be in Nome from March 27 through April 7. Further questions and information on den locations can be directed to the USDA APHIS Regional Director Marc Pratt at (907) 745-0871. Leeper cautioned Nomeites to keep their pets tied up as the biologists will be harvesting the foxes at night.
Finally, Mayor John Handeland recommended the reappointment of Gay Sheffield to the Port Commission and the Council unanimously voted to reappoint Sheffield to seat F on the port panel.