Council approves $1.5 million to fix Westgold dock

City spending for causeway dock repair tentatively approved at Nome Common Council two weeks ago doubled Monday evening after a solitary bid from a regional company.
At the last regular Council meeting June 24, the panel heard beginning estimates in the neighborhood of $529,000 to repair a split in the sheet pile and additional damage at Westgold Dock.
This money would tentatively pay for sheet pile at a discount from Port of Anchorage, for $252,450, plus the approximate $63,000 barge bill to bring it down the Yukon and north, plus about $80,000 for design work by PND, the dock’s engineers of record, and 250-ton crane and vibratory hammer mobilization from St. Mary’s village for $91,000 by local contractors STG, the firm that will install repairs. Two weeks ago, the City did not have additional estimates for permitting and site work, but Joy Baker, port director, thought those items would cost $100,000 to $200,000, bringing emergency repairs to possibly $600,000 to $700,000.
Monday night, the other shoe dropped with a thud as the panel considered a resolution awarding the repair contract to STG, a local heavy industrial firm that misses a million dollars by only $30,000. Tack on $504,287, reduced from $529,000 cited two weeks ago for a repair bill of roughly $1.5 million.
John K. Handeland, interim city manager, had approved the $504,000 for engineering, materials, crane mobilization, freight and temporary welding repairs through an emergency procurement allowed under city law, he told the Council Monday.
He explained that STG and the City settled on a contract award for $969,590 that accommodates a certain amount of risk in performing the work; STG has included in the contract a builder’s risk policy. Underwater work is not included in the proposal.
Under the contract, STG must achieve substantial completion of the repair no later than Aug. 31with final completion of all follow-up work by Aug. 15.
The dock has been shut down since June 10 when port staff discovered the breach in the sheet pile that resulted, engineers believe, from an unidentified impact at an unknown time, which caused a wye pile and sheet pile tail wall to separate severely and seriously threaten the integrity of the entire sheet pile dock face.
STG will make repairs to assure the stability of the entire sheet pile dock face.
“Every effort is being made to minimize impacts to vessel schedules,” Baker told City executives in a memo handed them in the June 24 regular Council meeting, “but expediting the repair is key to avoiding operational impacts.”
“It is essential that this critical infrastructure be protected from total failure and restored to full integrity,” Baker said.
Councilman Mark Johnson wondered, since the repair was an emergency measure, whether there might be emergency money to assist with the costs.
She was looking, Baker said, but hadn’t found any funds. Under the State of Alaska lean budget situation, she wasn’t sure it was worth asking for state money, Baker said.
As it stands, money for the repair will come from the Port of Nome fund balance, followed with money advanced from the City’s fund balance with payback coming from the port coffers after the shipping season, according to Handeland.
Mark Johnson also inquired as to whether, if no risk developed with which STG had to deal, would the City recoup contract money.
“No,” Handeland responded, only if City of Nome had wanted to assume some of the risk. The $969,590 is a fixed price on the STG contract. It had been explained that the repair contract costs had been boosted by risk assumption on the part of STG, as well as the cost to build an expensive template for the sheet pile installation which would have to be flown to Nome at significant expense on a large cargo airplane.
Calista Corporation owns STG. Calista is a regional Alaska Native Corp., established in 1971 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act as a means of creating economic opportunities for Alaska Native shareholders in southeast Alaska.
The meeting kicked off with Nome Police Chief Robert Estes introducing two new police officers: Marc Morris from Sitka and Raymond Murray of Texas, the brother of Nome Police Officer Cordell Murray. The chief also introduced Nome Police Officer Justin Stein, who has achieved certification through training.
In other business, the Council postponed consideration of a resolution approving a renewed contract with Nome Chamber of Commerce to operate the Nome Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, as it has since 2008.
Nome Chamber of Commerce needs more payroll money, according to Executive Director Paul Kosto, or it will have to continue to subsidize operations at the Visitors’ Center.
The contract bearing no dollar amount appeared in the Council packet, according to Handeland, because the resolution had been postponed to July 8.
The City wants to meet with Nome Chamber of Commerce to explore ways around increasing the budget, perhaps with sharing of duties, without the transfer of cash, according to Handeland. The Council will have a work session with Chamber in the near future.
During public comment, citizen Austin Ahmasuk took the podium to ask that during excavations and repairs of the dock, an archaeologist be on staff to guard against possible disruption of archaeological cultural resources of historic Alaska Native activities in the area.
He opposed Port of Nome expansion and upgrades, Ahmasuk added.  Additionally, Ahmasuk stated a separate request for earlier access to Council meeting documents. He would look into the publication of the packets, Handeland said. Later in the meeting, Ken Hughes, president of Nome Planning Commission echoed Ahmasuk’s request that meeting documents be more accessible.
The material appears on the City of Nome Facebook site and Nome Announce.
The Nome Community Re-entry Coalition provided an 18-page community assessment report included in the Council packet at the bidding of Councilwoman Meghan Sigvanna Topkok. The NCRC conducted the assessment using surveys and focus groups to gain an understanding of current resources, barriers and needs related to community integration of previously incarcerated individuals. The Council will take up the issues and the report at a work session in August.
In two weeks, the Council will hold a work session before the regular Council meeting in which they will explore ideas on public-private partnerships to fund port navigational improvements.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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