Tribal lawmakers will open 2-day session in Window Rock

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FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council will consider in a special session starting Friday whether the tribe can petition the U.S. secretary of the interior to review and approve a federal charter of incorporation for the Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

Under the proposal, NTEC would become a for-profit corporation, also known as a Section 17 Corporation, under the Indian Reorganization Act.

NTEC is a tribal enterprise and was created in 2013 to purchase the Navajo Mine near Fruitland.

Besides owning the mine, the company acquired a 7 percent interest in the Four Corners Power Plant this year and is exploring options for the tribe's potential purchase of the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona.

This will be the tribal council's second special session this month in Window Rock, Arizona.

The special session will last two days, starting at 9 a.m. Friday and continuing at 10 a.m. Monday.

The five-page proposed agenda includes six pieces of legislation that were tabled by delegates at the special session on Dec. 20.

Among the tabled bills were three requests for supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance.

The first bill requests approximately $4.3 million to construct a multipurpose complex in the Low Mountain Chapter in Arizona. The second request seeks about $2.1 million to build a bridge in Greasewood Springs, Arizona, and the third measure requests $551,667 for the tribe's Division of Community Development to construct a senior citizen center in Ganado, Arizona.

Each request was tabled because the council was notified by the Office of the Controller that the available balance for the UUFB was approximately $47,000, according to the Office of the Speaker.

As of today, delegates continued to wait for an update from the controller's office about whether the fund's balance has been replenished, according to the Speaker's Office. The UUFB is made up of funds that are received in excess of the initial or current revenue projection for the fiscal year and from nonrecurring revenues. The tribe started fiscal year 2019 on Oct. 1.

Other bills on the proposed agenda center on approving expenditure plans for projects across the Navajo Nation and additional supplemental funding requests.

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

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