Council divides NSEDC money among nonprofits groups

The Nome Common Council absorbed a mid-year Community Benefit Share from Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. into the budget process and doled it out again to eight groups that serve youth and social services.
The largest slice — $57,727.04—went to a City of Nome hockey rink project. Nome-Beltz activities received $34,000 to partially restore travel funding cuts; Nome Preschool Association, $12,612.96 for building upgrades and renovations; Bering Sea Women’s Group, $10,000, toward adding a full-time advocate; Nome Community Center, $10,000 toward a pickup truck replacement; Nome-Beltz Native Youth Olympics, $5,000, travel to events; Leonard Seppala House Project, $3,000 toward restoration; and NCC-Nome Emergency Shelter Team, $1,000 for supplies for CPR certification training, for a total of $133,333.
Don Stiles put in a request for the Council to “use the Community Benefit Share to its highest and best use by spending it on the City’s operations” and own infrastructure to raise the quality of life for the community as a whole. That idea did not take wing.
“The practice of doling out funds for nonprofit organizations has merit and benefits citizens associated with those organizations but does not reach the community as a whole. NSEDC has programs that will address those needs,” Stiles wrote. “Other cities in our region are using these funds to stay solvent, and help every citizen in their community.”
NSEDC terms for communities receiving the benefit share require the public input before the City cuts the pie. Requests for the money came to $264,179, before the Council whittled down the grants to $133,333 in a work session June 11 before the regular Council meeting.
NSEDC is a private 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation representing 15 member communities in the Bering Strait region of Northwestern Alaska, each of which received a Community Benefit Share of $133,333. NSEDC is one of six Community Development Quota organizations in Alaska.
In other action, Council members and City staff gave sighs of relief that number crunching will let up after they approved the City’s spending year 2019 funding budgets.
The budgets introduced into first reading May 29 scooted through second reading and final passage with few changes. Councilman Stan Andersen attempted to make several amendments to the budgets. He succeeded in getting enough votes to move $120.000 from the self-insurance fund to the general fund to purchase equipment for public works department—a semi- tractor and a side dump trailer. However an amendment to cut out $5,000 to buy a self-contained sink did not get the needed four affirmative votes. However, the Council did approve Andersen’s motion for the City to reclaim the Tobuk Alley right-of-way from Spokane Street to Steadman Street.
“We could legally take a loader and clear the right-of-way,” Tom Moran, city manager said, adding that the City would have no responsibility for anything demolished in the process.
There is about $343,000 in the budget for new bathrooms for Anvil City Science Academy.   
The package comprised the operating budget for the general fund, $13,247,278, an increase of $1,036,496 or 9 percent from FY 2018; the school debt service fund, $739,326; the special revenue fund, $278,600; the capital projects fund $185,000; the construction capital projects fund, $175,000; two enterprise funds—the Port of Nome fund budget, $1,762,969 and the Port of Nome capital projects fund, $4,280,000.
The Council voted itself into executive session at the end of the meeting to consider personnel matters.

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