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City Council Passes FY 2019 Budgets; Deficit is Projected at $1.6 Million

Mayor Beneville, sitting at a desk, signs resolutions while City Clerk Hammond, standing next to him, looks on.
File photo: Mayor Richard Beneville signs resolutions after a City Council meeting while City Clerk Bryant Hammond looks on. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus/KNOM (2016).

The 2019 fiscal year City of Nome budgets are set, bringing the general fund to a projected $13 million, which is a one-million-dollar increase from last fiscal year. With these budgets in place, the City is expected to have a $1.6 million deficit for FY ‘19.

During last night’s City Council meeting, Councilman Stan Andersen suggested one additional expenditure be added into the FY ‘19 General Fund budget.

“I’d like to make a motion to amend the General Fund budget to add $120,000 to the total revenue by appropriating from the self-insurance equipment replacement fund and to add $120,000 for the tractor trailer side dump to the total operating expenditure.”

Councilman Jerald Brown brought up prior discussions regarding the equipment replacement fund. He questioned if this side dump, worth $120,000, would cause the equipment fund to drop below a certain level and, then, if the Council would have to back-fill it.

City Finance Director Julie Lew says there is some extra money to move around.

Lew: “We will have $110,000 from the health insurance premium holiday in FY ‘18 that we can designate to the tractor trailer.”
Brown: “And that’s not in the budget?”
Lew: “That’s not in the budget. That’s in this year’s budget (2018), it’s not going to appear in FY ‘19.”

Councilman Brown took issue with shifting funds from pot to pot just to allow for more spending. But as Councilman Andersen sees it, all of the money is coming from the same place.

“You can label it whatever you want, but it all comes out of my back pocket.”

The six present councilmen voted unanimously to approve the amended general fund budget as well as the other six fiscal year 2019 City budgets. Those include funds to renovate the Anvil City Science Academy bathrooms, upgrade some of the City’s boilers, and adopt the Port of Nome’s $1,762,969.00 budget.

Andersen also requested the budget be changed to remove the self-contained sink from the City’s morgue, but the Council decided against that amendment.

Before adjourning last night’s meeting, Councilman Andersen brought up another motion to address a public road mostly for the purpose of fire safety.

“The Planning Commission has talked about it, we’ve talked about it, and we’re talking about Tobuk Alley on one end, so I’d like to make a motion that we extend Tobuk Alley from Spokane to Steadman. I believe the Fire Department has requested it, it’s been going on for years and years. It hasn’t ever gotten anywhere, so that’s why I’m presenting it as a motion.”

Ultimately, the Council supported Andersen’s suggestion, but Councilman Lew Tobin questioned if this would cause a hoopla among residents. City Manager Tom Moran says there could be potential for that, but the City has the authority to legally take action regarding municipally owned roads.

This approved motion could be discussed further when Nome’s City Council convenes again for its next regular meeting on June 25th at City Hall.

Image at top: file photo: Mayor Richard Beneville signs resolutions after a City Council meeting while City Clerk Bryant Hammond looks on. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus/KNOM (2016).

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