Tribal council OKs funding for fire stations

The Daily Times staff
Firefighter Derrick Woody talks on Oct. 22 at the San Juan County District No. 12 fire station in Shiprock about the extraction tools crews keep in their brush truck.

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council has approved reallocating funding to address fire and rescue services for fire stations in Shiprock, Newcomb and Ojo Amarillo.

Delegates voted 17-0 in favor of transferring $417,737 from the tribe's Department of Fire and Rescue Services' personnel and fringe benefits account to the department's operations account.

The bill required 16 or more votes to pass during Wednesday's special session in Window Rock, Ariz.

According to the legislation, a portion of the funding will go toward paying San Juan County for operating the three stations in July, August and September.

The remaining amount will go toward expenses associated with personnel training and equipment.

The council resolution was delivered Friday to Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye's office. The president has 10 calendar days to sign or veto the resolution.

In a county commission meeting last year in October, Begaye told commissioners the tribe will assume control of the stations.

The decision was made after the county informed tribal officials it could no longer afford to operate the stations and provided alternatives to the tribe for management.

The tribe's fire and rescue services department was scheduled to assume control on Oct. 1, but that date was changed to Oct. 4 after county commissioners last week approved the extension. The extension means the county will continue to operate the three stations until the end of the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.