Members of the Navajo Nation Council have voted to send to the state legislatures of Arizona and New Mexico funding requests for a series of capital outlay and infrastructure initiatives.
The council, meeting in Window Rock, Arizona, additionally voted to approve requests for the backing of public safety, gaming, roads, and economic development projects, among other issues.
The funding request for New Mexico lawmakers, if approved, could see the construction of new police facilities in Shiprock and Tse Bonito, both in northeast New Mexico.
The Navajo priorities for the Arizona legislators include asking lawmakers to oppose all forms of gaming expansion that might harm Navajo gaming, while increasing the Navajo Nation’s portion of revenue coming out of the Arizona Fuel Excise Tax.
The council vote approving the funding priorities for the two states reaffirms an earlier list of priorities approved by the 24-member council last November.
Members of the council met with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham late last month and additionally expressed concerns about what is known as Executive Order #2013-006, which was signed into law by former Governor Susana Martinez.
That order, designed to provide a more careful monitoring of the capital outlay process, including determining whether a grantee has in place adequate accounting methods, has lengthened the time during which tribes in the state secure state backing for projects.
Council Delegate Mark Freeland told Governor Lujan Grisham that the Navajo Nation is in a position to complete a number of projects that need state funding.
Getting rid of the executive order, he added, “cuts the red tape for us to maximize our funding and it streamlines the process to complete our capital outlay projects.”
By Garry Boulard
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