Nome City Council Could Declare Economic Disaster, Finalize $13.5-Million Budget

City of Nome Council Chambers. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus; KNOM

The City of Nome looks to pass the Fiscal Year 2021 budget and potentially declare an economic disaster related to COVID-19 during tonight’s City Council meeting.

The city has a $13,599,985.87 operating budget on the table with just over $3 million of that slated to fund the Nome Police Department. That’s not much of an increase from last year’s amended budget but does include funding for more NPD positions, most notably an investigator who could potentially focus almost exclusively on sexual assault cases.

The council will already be looking to fill one of NPD’s vacancies by resolution in their meeting tonight, the Deputy Chief of Police. Nomeites may recognize a familiar name listed as a potential candidate to fill that role: Bob Pruckner. Pruckner was sworn into the Nome Police Department during January of 2019 to assist Chief Robert Estes with investigations, however, by August of that year he had left the department without any official explanation given.

In spite of the city’s attempt to operate on a slim budget, they will be funding some extra services like giving $30,000 towards the Nome Emergency Shelter Team [NEST].

Also, on tonight’s City Council agenda is a resolution declaring a coronavirus related economic disaster for Nome. That resolution declares that safety precautions like travel restrictions, which were adopted for the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted city industries enough to warrant a “disaster.”

While it is not entirely clear yet what this could mean for Nome, the council has discussed that such a document could potentially allow for emergency legislation to be passed to stimulate local economic growth.

Finally, the City Council will also move by resolution to formally accept over $5.6-million in CARES Act funding for the City of Nome. They have not yet announced exactly how that funding will be spent.

The Nome Common Council meets tonight at 7pm at City Hall.

Image at top: City of Nome Council Chambers. Photo from Margaret DeMaioribus, KNOM (2017).