Meetings roundup: Navajo Nation Council to decide funding for electricity project

Noel Lyn Smith Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is seeking assistance for its project to bring electricity to homes on the Navajo Nation.

The company partnered with the American Public Power Association last year to implement Light Up Navajo, a project that connected electricity to 233 homes on the reservation.

NTUA announced last August its intent to offer a second phase of the project with the goal to connect 300 homes.

As part of the process, a bill to allocate $1 million from the Síhasin Fund to the tribal utility authority to assist families in paying for costs associated with surveys, easements, permits and clearances will go to the Navajo Nation Council during the winter session this week.

More than 28 utility companies from 13 states worked with NTUA personnel and volunteers when the project took place last April and May, according to the legislation.

The bill states there is "no absolute guarantee" that a second round will happen this year, but the amount would be available to NTUA for up to five years.

Another piece of legislation on the proposed agenda seeks to confirm Tina Tsinigine as an associate justice for the Navajo Nation Supreme Court.

Tsinigine is the judge for the Kayenta Judicial District in Kayenta, Arizona, and was one of two applicants for the position.

In December, the Judicial Conduct Commission completed its screening process for Tsinigine and recommended to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez that she be appointed to the high court. She was appointed by Nez on Jan. 6.

If Tsinigine is confirmed by the tribal council, she will complete a probationary period of two years then undergo the process for permanent appointment.

The council will also decide whether to use $50 million from the Síhasin Fund to establish an endowment fund to create scholarships for Navajo students.

The proposed endowment fund would help increase the number of scholarships awarded by the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance.

According to the 2018 annual report released by the scholarship office, there were 6,680 students who received scholarships in 2018, which was 51% of the total number of students who applied.

The proposal includes a requirement that those who receive help from the endowment fund work a minimum of four years with the tribal government after earning their degrees.

The bill had gone before the council in October and was returned to the Budget and Finance Committee for further review.

Another legislation returning to the council proposes creating an office to oversee energy related projects and energy development on the Navajo Nation.

The winter session starts at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at the council chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

Guzman Energy will present to Bloomfield City Council

Guzman Energy will give a presentation at 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at the start of the Bloomfield City Council meeting.

The wholesale electricity provider entered into an agreement with the City of Bloomfield in May as the city explores the possibility of acquiring electric utility assets from Farmington Electric Utility System. This has been at the center of a legal debate between the two cities since 2015. A court ruled that Bloomfield has the right to acquire the assets.

Bloomfield City Attorney Ryan Lane speaks while on stage with City Councilor Curtis Lynch, Mayor Cynthia Atencio, consultant Edwin Reyes, Guzman Energy Managing Director Jeffrey Heit and Guzman Energy attorney Robin Lunt during a meeting on May 29, 2019 at Bloomfield High School.

More:Bloomfield wants to know what electric utility assets could cost. Guzman Energy will help.

Guzman Energy offered to pay Bloomfield’s expenses as the two cities determine the value of the assets it wants to acquire. In exchange, Guzman hopes to provide electricity to Bloomfield if it chooses to start its own electric utility. If it does not pursue an electric utility, it will have to repay Guzman for the expenses.

Guzman Energy is the power provider for the Aztec Utility System.

The Bloomfield City Council meets at 915 N. 1st St.

Other meetings

Aztec City Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Aztec City Hall, 200 W. Chaco St.

Farmington City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive. The City Council will hear a presentation about advanced metering infrastructure.

Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education will have a special meeting at noon Jan. 28 at 3401 E. 30th Street, Suite A to discuss policies and procedures aimed at providing equal access for Native American students to programs, services and activities.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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