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Council will consider $6.2M in funding requests

Proposed agenda lists bills requesting about $6.2 million from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance for a number of tribal projects

Noel Lyn Smith
nsmith@daily-times.com
The Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., are pictured on Oct. 19, 2015.

FARMINGTON — Approximately $6.2 million in supplemental funding requests from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance are listed on the proposed agenda for the Navajo Nation Council's special session this week.

The first legislation listed on the proposed agenda requests $270,000 to replace a fence line between two districts in Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter.

Speaker LoRenzo Bates is sponsoring the bill, which was tabled during the winter session in January.

Another bill that was tabled at the winter session is also listed on the proposed agenda. It requests $340,725 to renovate a modular building for use by the Dzil Yijiin courts in Whippoorwill, Ariz.

Delegate Seth Damon is also sponsoring legislation that requests $43,766 to pay for the transportation and set-up of a modular building in Tsayatoh Chapter. The building would be used by the Tsayatoh Chapter Veterans Organization, and it would house a community computer lab in the chapter, which is located 15 miles west of Gallup.

Delegate Walter Phelps is sponsoring four bills that request supplemental funding.

Phelps' first bill asks for $1.6 million to renovate and replace existing homes in the former Bennett Freeze area in Arizona.

The second would provide approximately $1.7 million to complete power line extensions in the northwest area of Tsídii To’ii Chapter in Arizona.

The other two bills sponsored by Phelps request $500,000 for the demolition of the Cameron Chapter house in Arizona and $500,000 to renovate the senior citizen center in Tolani Lake Chapter in Arizona.

Members of the Navajo Nation Council meet Jan. 26 for the start of the 2015 Winter Session at the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz. A special session of the council begins Friday.

Delegate Edmund Yazzie is sponsoring a bill to provide $300,000 to the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School in Thoreau. The school would use the money to purchase three school buses.

Delegate Jonathan Hale is sponsoring legislation to provide $126,415 to the tribe's Veterinary and Livestock Program to start prevention programs to address Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The funding would also be used to provide care for pets and offer spay and neuter services to 28 chapters.

Delegate Mel R. Begay is seeking $832,698 to rebuild 27 homes destroyed by the Assayii Lake Fire and to purchase other resources. The 2015 fire burned 14,712 acres on the Ch’ooshgai Mountains.

Begay is currently on trial for charges related to allegedly misusing the tribe's discretionary fund, which was designed to help members with emergencies and financial hardships.

Delegate Dwight Witherspoon is sponsoring a bill to amend sections of the Navajo Preference in Employment Act.

At the special session, lawmakers could also confirm the appointment of LaVonne Tsosie as executive director of the Division of Human Resources. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye appointed Tsosie in December.

The council will convene for the special session at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz. It will be streamed live at ustream.tv/channel/navajo-nation-council.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4636.