Council passes budgets, ok’s MOU for 3D housing printing

By Diana Haecker
The Nome Common Council swiftly and without much comment from the public passed in second readings the fiscal year 2023 budgets for the city’s general fund, the school debt service fund ($288,250), the special revenue fund ($664,745), capital projects fund ($1.2 million), construction capital projects (school roof repair, to be reimbursed by school district $1.9 million), the port budget ($3.6 million), port capital projects ($2.2 million, including adjustment for an increase in the cost share with the state on port road improvements) and the FY 2022 Nome Joint Utilities operations and maintenance, and capital investment budget.  
The city’s general budget is $16.6 million. With a taxable property base assessed at $392.1 million, the council set the mill rate at 12 mills, to be levied on real and personal property within city limits. The budget was amended to include $37,500 to purchase parts for the Komatsu dozer used by the landfill.
The NJUS estimated revenues are at $15.3 million with estimated operations and maintenance expenses of $13.4 million, leaving a $1.9 million cash margin to be used to fund the annual bond and debt service principal payments (not included in the operations budget).
In other decisions, the Council, after hearing in a work session last week a proposal from Extreme Habitats Institute and a Denali Commission official on the viability of 3D concrete house printing, entered into a collaborative agreement to develop a 3D house printing project in Nome.
Forced by a chronic affordable housing shortage to find creative solutions, the council signed off on the agreement to partner with the Pennsylvania State University and the Extreme Habitats Institute to develop a 3D concrete printing method to create housing, faster, cheaper and more sustainable compared to conventional construction. City Manager Glenn Steckman explained to council members that Keith Comstock, with Extreme Habitats, would be doing the heavy lifting in overseeing the project and forging partnerships with funding sources, the Denali Commission and AHFC with the objective to create two or three houses as a pilot program. The resolution authorized the city manager to collaborate with Extreme Habitats and Penn State to develop the demonstration project and to submit applications for its funding.
In other business, the council heard from NJUS’s Ken Morton announcing scheduled power outages in the morning concerning city feeder one. Morton also recognized the retirement of Marty Silvernail, who has worked at NJUS for 23 years.
The city manager in his report gave the heads up of a busy June 27, when the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board comes to Nome for their annual meeting, but also set aside Monday, June 27 for a public meeting on the effects of alcohol use in Nome. Also, on the same day, Governor Mike Dunleavy will visit Nome, to address energy issues in the region. While the agenda is “floating” as Steckman said, there will be a meeting with “stakeholders in the community” and a meeting with the general public later that day at the Mini Convention Center.
Steckman also informed the Council that the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation has raised the issue of properly following the process in asbestos removal and disposal from commercial and private house demolitions.
The Council will next meet on Monday, June 27.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

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

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