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Nome council rejects company’s request to forgive late penalty and interest

Nome City Council Chambers. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.
Nome City Council Chambers. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

For the first time in several years, the Nome Common Council rejected a request to forgive a late property tax penalty on the evening of Sept. 12. Also during their regular meeting, the Council awarded contracts to repair city vehicles and reappointed Justin Noffsker to the Public Safety Advisory Commission.

There was much back and forth during Monday’s meeting over a specific request from Ryan’s Property Tax in California. The out-of-state company asked the Council to forgive the almost $600 it owed for not paying its 2021 city property tax on time. Usually this would be a straight forward decision for the group to agree on.

“Since Matt Culley was voted off, I’ve never seen this Council vote, turn down a request [for forgiveness],” City Clerk Bryant Hammond exclaimed.

Councilmember Doug Johnson was very much in favor of forgiving the penalty and interest, given that Ryan’s Property Tax sent their payment in the mail two weeks ahead of the due date and Johnson says they have not asked for forgiveness before.

But Councilmember Scot Henderson pointed out that the City has accepted online payments for several years which mitigates the need to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to make timely payments.

“So I think Bryant said this change from the post marked date to the actual receipt was done about four years ago, right? So 2018, and since 2018 the online payment has been in place,” Henderson said.

Ultimately the motion to forgive Ryan’s Property Tax failed with members Adam Martinson, Mark Johnson and Scot Henderson voting against it. Mayor John Handeland, who would’ve been the tie-breaking vote on this issue, was absent for Monday’s meeting. The Council then unanimously decided to waive James and Kathleen Hansen’s late penalty fee on their property tax payment.

In other business, the Council awarded contracts for repair and maintenance of the city’s light duty vehicles and emergency vehicles to Nome Machine Works. According to city documents, Nome Machine Works bid the lowest price for the light duty contract, and was the only bidder for the emergency services’ work.

During the City Manager’s report, Glenn Steckman shared an update that might ease some of the public’s concerns about Alaska Waste’s trash services in Nome.

“A number of people have raised issues about trash cans that are being replaced by Alaska Waste. Still been some complaints on service,” Steckman explained. “We’re going to put up somewhere on our website that they should be calling (907)376-2158 and that there will be a connex full of trash cans coming to Nome at the very end of this month.”

Steckman encourages any Nome residents who want a larger trash can to contact Alaska Waste directly at (907)376-2158 before the end of September.

Also coming up at the end of this month, the City of Nome will host the 2022 Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators’ conference on September 26-29. More information, including the conference agenda, can be found at the AAAHPA website.

Image at top: Nome City Council Chambers. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

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