In a rare show of unity, elected officials are actually finding common ground when it comes to spending the $600.5 million in CARES Act funds the Nation has had for nearly a month.
The Navajo Nation president and Council seem to agree that at least a portion of it should be spent on water infrastructure. But whether or not that is feasible is up for debate.
During last week’s Naabik’iyati’ Committee work session, it was explained that three criteria have to be satisfied in order to spend the dollars, which were given to tribes to fight the coronavirus. Should the Nation spend these funds in a way that doesn’t meet requirements, the Nation will then have to repay the federal government.
The funds are to be used for “necessary expenditures” incurred due to the public health emergency of COVID-19; the Nation can’t spend on items already listed in the tribe’s FY 2020 budget; and the cost must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30.
“We understand water has been a major issue,” said Resource and Development Chair Rickie Nez. “A lot of our people need water. Would this be a necessary expenditure to pay for that?”
Tribal attorneys were unable to give him a firm yes or no. “I know there is a lot of frustration from the delegates so far in that they are not getting the answer they want,” said Chief Legislative Chief Counsel Dana Bobroff, “when they ask if this particular project is eligible for funding under the […]