Agreement reached for fiscal 2022 budget
The three branch chiefs established agreement for the Navajo Nation fiscal 2022 comprehensive budget and the Budget and Finance Committee accepted it.
Within the three branch chiefs’ agreement, the total projected revenue consisting of General Fund Revenues and interest income from the Permanent Trust Fund is $177.2 million.
Out of that amount, $137.2 million will be allocated to the General Fund Projection and $40 million will be allocated to the PTF.
“This year because of actions by the BFC recommending PTF five-year trust fund income plan that has freed up $40 million,” Council Delegate Seth Damon said. “If that didn’t happen we would be siting at a budget of $30 million shortfall compared to past two years.”
What Damon is referring to is the Navajo Nation Council approved legislation for the Permanent Trust Fund Income five-year expenditure plan, which allocates up to $40 million on an annual basis for the next five years for the Navajo Nation’s Comprehensive Budget.
The funds will come from the annual income interest earned from the trust fund principal and allocated for the Navajo Nation’s Comprehensive Budget for fiscal 2022-26. If the annual income interest exceeds $40 million, the excess funds shall become available to fund additional needs. President Jonathan Nez signed this legislation in May.
“With the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine along with declining coal revenues, we have experienced a decrease in projected revenues,” Nez said during the May signing. “Working together with the Council, we’ve developed this new five-year plan to help cover direct services and provide for financial stability for the next five years.”
During the June 24 BFC meeting, Damon explained the Undesignated, Unreserved Fund Balance, the agreement recommends that $20 million be set aside for the fiscal 2023 budget.
“There is an increase of funding this year and there will be also a $20 million set aside continuing moving forward,” Damon said. “That will be covering any shortfalls for next fiscal year.”
The three branch chiefs also recommended to BFC their allocations, which are as follows:
- $18,013,778 for fixed costs.
- $3.5 million for external funds cash match.
- $111,518,160 for the executive branch.
- $15,732,069 for the legislative branch.
- $15,765,782 for the judicial branch.
- $12,675,211 for the chapters (non-administrative).
With a projected balance of $11 million, the branch chiefs may make recommendations on use of the personnel lapse-savings fund, which is whatever the unspent personnel funds is accrued at the end of the fiscal year.
The three branch chiefs recommended that $3,019,319 be allocated to cover the fiscal 2021 General Wage Adjustment for the three branches.
Additionally, that $3 million be allocated to the Navajo Nation Retirement Plan to cover increasing costs.