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Nome Port Commission Moves to Prevent Over-side Fuel Sales, Will Not Raise Tariff Rates

Commissioners Scot Henderson and Shane Smithhisler and Harbormaster Lucas Stotts review documents at a meeting of the Nome Port Commission in Feb. 2018.
From left: Commissioners Scot Henderson and Shane Smithhisler and Harbormaster Lucas Stotts at a meeting of the Nome Port Commission in Feb. 2018. Photo: Zoe Grueskin/KNOM.

The Nome Port Commission voted last night to move forward with changes to port tariff rules and regulations. The proposed changes include authorizing the Harbormaster to impound nuisance property left at the port for more than 48-hours.

The Commission also approved language that would prevent over-side fuel sales in the harbor. Current tariff regulations make it cheaper to refuel from another floating vessel, rather than buying fuel through shore-based infrastructure.

In a special work session with City Council on Monday and one of their own before the regular meeting, Commissioners voiced concern that over-side fuel transfers increase the risk of spills in the harbor. They may also have the “unintended consequence” of disadvantaging shore-based fuel providers.

Baker said disallowing the sale of fuel from barge to barge solves the problem:

“We are looking out for those local companies that have an investment in the community, and not allowing an offshore company without that investment to take advantage of a loophole or have a significant pricing advantage because they don’t have the overhead of the onshore year-round infrastructure.”

The Commission also voted on a motion to raise tariff rates across the board by 3%. With two Commissioners absent, the vote was 3-to-2 in favor of raising the rates. However, by ordinance, motions must receive a majority vote of membership, or 4 votes, to pass. Therefore the motion failed, and rates will not increase. Port tariff rates were last raised in 2015.

The language of the proposed changes will be finalized by the city’s lawyer and presented to the Nome City Council on Feb. 26 for formal adoption.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Commission passed a motion to increase port tariff rates by 3%. The vote was 3 to 2 in favor of raising the rate, however, by ordinance motions must receive a majority vote of membership, or 4 votes, to pass.

Image at top: From left: Commissioners Scot Henderson and Shane Smithhisler and Harbormaster Lucas Stotts at a meeting of the Nome Port Commission in Feb. 2018. Photo: Zoe Grueskin/KNOM.

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