WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Office of the Speaker and Navajo Nation Council remain cautious as recent monsoon rains have caused flooding, muddy conditions and power outages in various communities across the Navajo Nation. On Aug. 4, the Commission of Emergency Management declared a state of emergency for the Navajo Nation.
The Speaker and Council are monitoring the situation and will ensure all existing resources - including state and county resources - are exhausted before any possible legislative action and alternative funding sources are explored to assist with the weather conditions.
Currently, the Navajo Nation is operating under a $24 million budget deficit.
Mark Grant, controller of the Navajo Nation, said a funding source had not been identified for the Council to assist in efforts such as "Operation Downpour."
"The funding would have to be identified," he said, adding that money would have to be reallocated if there was an identifiable funding source. "There is no funding sitting there waiting for allocation. There is an emergency account. I am pretty sure there is money in there but how much I do not know at this time."
The Council had passed various pieces of supplemental appropriations that would have benefited Navajo communities during this monsoon season, but those were vetoed or lined out by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr.
On June 24, President Shirley used his line item veto authority to veto several riders attached to Resolution CJN-25-10, which would have provided $3 million in public employment program funding and $2 million in housing discretionary funds to Navajo Nation chapters.
Honorable Young Jeff (Mariano Lake/Smith Lake) sponsored the resolution in an effort to provide money to Navajo chapters to stimulate their local economies, and if necessary, use those monies to assist in emergency situations.
Through resolution approved by Navajo constituents, Navajo Nation chapters could have possibly funneled some of those contingency funds for disaster relief such as in "Operation Downpour."