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Alcohol Related Ordinances Postponed, City Manager’s Contract Unofficially Renewed

Papers in Nome City Council chambers
Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file

Instead of deliberating on three new ordinances regarding alcohol and its consumption, the Nome City Council only discussed prohibiting intoxication in public right of ways during last night’s meeting.

Before approving the agenda, Councilman Stan Anderson requested that an ordinance limiting the hours of liquor sales and an ordinance for a ten percent excise tax on alcohol be kicked off the agenda.

“My thought was it’s not going to get the votes, it would be killed anyway, so instead of killing it, why not have a work session on it”

City Manager Tom Moran suggested that maybe enough time had already been spent on putting these ordinances together.

“I certainly don’t want to say we were overzealous because we discussed this on June 24th and we actually waited a meeting to get it on your agenda. I think there are some other things in play like a potential work session with NEST and Behavioral Health Services, of which I see some of the representatives in the audience, and I hope they didn’t waste their time because we were specifically instructed to hold it until August 14th”

The Council unanimously decided to remove the ordinances, with the intention to bring them back after holding a work session on August 14th.  Discussion did take place on an ordinance making it unlawful to be intoxicated in a public right of way, however the final decision was to postpone the ordinance for a later meeting.

City Clerk Bryant Hammond explains why the motion was postponed until August 14th rather than tabled.

“It may be moved the same day the motion is tabled to take it from the table. So if you are going to table this and want to come back to it on a different day than today, to lay it on the table is not the correct motion. You either want to postpone by a certain day or postpone indefinitely. Postponing to a certain day, postponing indefinitely can be either used to push it back a month, it can’t be done in the same month, or it can also be used to kill a motion”

Regarding old business on the agenda, most of the Council voted on an ordinance to purchase 5-acres of property from Arctic Gold Mining for $10,000. Councilman Johnson declared a conflict of interest in buying Lot 2 of the Tundra Lakes Subdivision, as he is the contracted CFO for Arctic Gold Mining.

Mayor Richard Beneville asked Johnson to vote anyways, saying that his input is important to the Council.

“Because of your expertise as a CPA, you sit in this capacity on a number of different organizations and that would mean we are losing your valuable vote as Councilman on those and…,” Beneville trailed off but continued, “if he abstains then that’s on his conscience.”

Johnson decided to abstain from voting, but the ordinance passed regardless. Before ending the regular meeting and entering into executive session, two individuals’ futures with City entities were determined.

The Council unanimously approved Lucas Sawyer to fill the vacant Museum and Library Commission seat, while City Manager Moran’s contract was unofficially renewed after a vote was called last night [MON]. Here’s the roll call:

“Hammond: Councilman Johnson? At this point I’ll abstain. Councilman Sparks? Yes. Councilman Tobin? Yes. Councilman Anderson? Yes. Councilman Brown? Yes. Councilman Green? Well I’d still rather delay at least another week so everybody has an ordinance. Hammond: It’s a yes, no, or abstain Councilman Green. Green: I’ll say No. Hammond: Motion Carries”

Moran’s contract will come before the Council at a later meeting, where it could be officially renewed or terminated. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for August 14th at 7pm in Council Chambers.

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