SPRING CLEANUP WEEK— Mayor John Handeland, City Clerk Dan Grimmer and City Manager Glenn Steckman check out printouts of spring cleanup announcements that are posted on social media to entice Nomeites to participate in this week's spring cleanup.

City of Nome joins regional entities in opposition to IPOP

The Nome Common Council joined several tribal entities, Native corporations and NSEDC in their opposition to the proposed gold dredging endeavors of IPOP LLC.
In a letter to the Nome Common Council, Nome resident Charlie Lean wrote that the City of Nome would be negatively affected by this project and that the issue deserves more attention. IPOP, a Nevada-based company with no expertise in gold mining, proposed to mine in Bonanza Channel with a cutterhead dredge. After several years of going through the permitting process that included unfavorable reviews of the project by several federal agencies, vigorous local and tribal opposition to the project and concern for the health and integrity of the estuary,  the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers denied a crucial federal permit. IPOP LLC appealed the decision, with the main argument being a conspiracy theory that native corporations wanted to mine the area themselves and to that effect conspired with the Alaska District Army Corps of Engineers to deny IPOP the permit. Council member Cameron Piscoya explained that the permit denial, in a rare action, was reversed.  In addition to the letter from Charlie Lean, a letter signed by the heads of the Village of Solomon, the Solomon Native Corporation, Kawerak Inc., Bering Straits Native Corporation, Sitnasuak Native Corporation and Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation states their joint opposition to IPOP’s proposed mining activity as it would pose “a significant threat to the Clean Waters Act protections for essential fish habitats, resulting in irreversible impacts on the local aquatic ecosystem and fishery resources.”
“I would very much like to see that the City of Nome also objects to this. In the last packet we had a letter from the state DEC and I would urge the council to oppose the permits at the state level,” Piscoya said. Council member Mark Johnson agreed, saying that “the City of Nome needs to step up and publicly oppose this project.” Johnson explained that Bonanza Channel and Safety Sound offer a vital food source for residents of Nome, for fish, water fowl and marine mammal critical habitat, that it is an important environmental area for the health and wellbeing for the residents of Nome and a vital economic resource for Nome because of the worldclass birding. Johnson made a motion that the city opposes that state permits be given to IPOP for exploration and mining at Bonanza Channel.
The motion carried unanimously, with all council members but Scot Henderson present.
In other business, the council passed the 2025 city budgets in first reading, with the second reading and public comment in the next council meeting.
The panel approved a budget of $17,948, 567 for the fiscal year 2025 and that $2.39 million are needed to balance the budget. With taxable property being valued at $380,363,400, the council also established a new mill rate of 11.5 mill, up one point from last year’s mill rate.
In a resolution, the council voted to agree to an additional contribution to the Nome School District to total the city’s contribution to $3.4 million.
The council also passed in first reading amending an ordinance that regulates cab offenses to transition to minor offense citations enforced by police officers and a new set of fines.
The council also discussed but took no action on a proposed amendment to require proof of rabies vaccination in addition to parvo vaccinations for dogs being brought into the city of Nome. City Manager Glenn Steckman said that the animal control officer reported that dogs come into Nome without rabies vaccinations. “We had rabies outbreaks recently in wild life and as we read through the ordinance, there was the requirement for parvo vaccination but not rabies.” While council members agreed with the spirit of the ordinance, the particulars needed more discussion and the council tabled the ordinance amendment to be brought up in the next meeting.
In other business, the council passed a resolution to begin foreclosure proceedings and authorize the administration to bring lawsuits to people owing property taxes from 2018 through 2020.
The council also waived fees, penalties and interest on property taxes owed by Elder Mary Irene Iyatunguk. When applying for the elder property tax exemption, she was not aware that the exemption is capped to $150,000 of the value. Council member Mark Johnson renewed his request to do away with elders having to annually apply for the property tax exemption and to move to a system where elders apply once, when they turn 65. “We are only one of two communities that make elders do it every year,” he said.
City Manager Glenn Steckman said this would require an ordinance change and recommended that the city attorney advise on proper wording.
Steckman in his city manager report reminded that this week is Spring Cleanup week in Nome with the city offering free haul services, dump trucks stationed in various parts of Nome to receive trash and the annual culmination of spring cleanup with an event at Old St. Joe’s on Saturday, June 1, with prizes, free hot dogs and soda, and the chance to win a bicycle in a raffle.
Mayor Handeland thanked Peggy Darling for organizing yet another Memorial Day parade and ceremony and Russell Rowe for the added touch of flying the Huey helicopter to release the wreath into the Snake River to commemorate the fallen at sea.

 

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762
USA

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

www.nomenugget.net

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