Saturday, July 20, 2024

$620.3M approved for fiscal 2016


The Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday adopted a $620.3 million spending package for fiscal year 2016.

The 17-5 vote came at about 8:45 p.m., after more than seven hours of discussion during which lawmakers considered a series of amendments designed to stretch dollars to as many programs as possible. The final bill, which needed at least 16 votes to pass, included seven amendments.

“We addressed a lot of concerns presented by my colleagues,” Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates said in an interview after the final vote. “Hopefully with the amendments we will address some of these concerns.”

The budget, which was recommended for approval by the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, includes $172.6 million in tribal revenue and $447.7 million from a variety of state, federal, educational and private sources. It calls for the biggest chunk of money, or $556.9 million, to go to the executive branch, with $16.4 million for the legislative branch and $15.4 million for the judicial branch.

The amendments called for allocations of $215,000 from the current fiscal year’s legislative budget to fund the creation of a Navajo Nation Youth Council to represent each of the Nation’s five agencies; $538,000 to fund water and power projects for Navajo veterans; $350,000 for repairs to windmills and water wells; and $51,000 for grant-writing services.

The budget next goes to President Russell Begaye, who has 10 days to sign it, veto it or use his line-item veto authority. In a video statement delivered during the Council’s session Tuesday, Begaye urged lawmakers to pass the budget as it was presented.

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