President Nez approves fiscal year 2022 budget for Navajo Nation government
FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has approved the tribe's comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2022.
Nez signed the $1.51 billion budget on Sept. 27 – three days before the current fiscal year ends.
The budget includes $173.52 in tribal general funds and $1.05 billion in funding from outside sources, such as federal or state governments, that are restricted or intended for specific purposes.
This amount does not include the appropriation the tribe received from the American Rescue Plan, according to the president's office.
The office noted in a news release that the budget includes full funding for veterans, the prosecutor's office and other services that help older tribal members, youth and community needs.
"We understand that there are many needs in our communities and for our people and together we spent a great amount of time deliberating and making tough decisions. With this budget, we want to continue on the path of working together to address any remaining issues and concerns," Nez said in the release.
The release states that funding for veterans was approved for each of the five agencies to help provide direct services and assistance.
Several veterans spoke about their dissatisfaction with veteran services offered by the tribal government during a Sept. 24 march in Window Rock, Arizona.
Nez thanked those who participated and for sharing their concerns to the tribal leadership last week.
The president used his line-item veto to eliminate $881,197 from the Department of Criminal Investigations because the department will receive approximately $1 million in carryover.
A carryover is money that was not spent from the last fiscal year's appropriations.
"If there is a need for additional funds, President Nez is open to discussing options," the release states.
Nez also vetoed $1.32 million in capital outlay match funding, citing the need to account current fund balances.
In the president's veto message to Speaker Seth Damon, he stated that a closer review is needed of all chapter funds currently available for capital outlay.
The Navajo Nation Council voted 18-3 in favor of passing the budget on Sept. 10.
He wrote in his letter to Damon that the closure of offices during the coronavirus pandemic caused funding to accumulate because of lower expenses.
"The carryover of savings would help our programs to continue providing services and fill the gaps of funding need," he wrote.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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