WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On June 26, the Law and Order Committee passed legislation which approved an allocation of $500,000 to help with all costs associated with designing and building a Dilkon Justice Center.
The money comes from the Judicial and Public Safety Fund, which is derived from the Navajo Nation’s sales tax and is used in accordance with a fund management plan for the benefit of public safety initiatives. The money allocated for the Dilkon Justice Center will go toward project management, architectural and engineering services.
The Office of the Controller said the fund has a current balance of $6.6 million.
Legislative sponsor, Council Delegate Lee Jack, Sr. (Dilkon, Greasewood Springs, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone), who represents the Dilkon community, said the project has been an on-going initiative for many years and remains in need of additional funds to complete.
“Overall, $500,000 is needed to assist in obtaining land withdrawals, utility and road easements, utility improvement cost proposals, and to develop procurement packages for consultants and contractors,” Jack said. “A total of $250,000 will be utilized for consulting and $250,000 for architectural design.”
Dilkon Chapter President Lorenzo Lee Sr. said Dilkon would be a perfect central location for a justice center.
“The community already has a judicial center,” Lee said. “This would help us address public safety concerns in Dilkon and surrounding communities and most importantly, it would reduce the response time of police officers.”
LOC member Council Delegate Otto Tso (Tó Nanees Dizi) questioned if the Navajo Nation Department of Corrections (NNDOC) has detailed plans that would ensure the completion of the project.
“As I look at the budget forms that are attached to the legislation, NNDOC director Delores Greyeyes signed it,” Tso said. “Do they have a plan or a timeline for this project? What if their plans are not adjacent with the chapter?”
“The chapter has been working with the Department of Corrections on this project, but we don’t understand why the project was moved down on the Judicial and Public Safety facilities fund priority list,” Jack said. “This project should have been a priority.”
On June 2, the LOC approved the Navajo Nation judicial and public safety facilities priority listing for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and the Dilkon Justice Center was listed fifth on the priority listing.
LOC member Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. (Low Mountain, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tachee/Blue Gap, Tselani/Cottonwood) said the priority listing was recommended from the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Navajo Nation Judicial Branch and NNDOC.
“Most importantly, the Dilkon Justice Center is still on the priority listing and I support the community’s endeavors to address public safety within their region,” Begay said.
The Law and Order Committee approved Legislation No. 0211-17 with a 2-1 vote and serves as the final authority for the bill.
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