POLACCA, Ariz. — The Hopi Reservation is getting another propane company after the Hopi Tribal Council approved a land lease recently.
Ikard-Newsome, based out of Gallup, New Mexico, will put a substation in Polacca. Hopi officials hope that competition between Ikard and Ferrelgass, already operating on First Mesa, will bring propane prices down.
The Hopi Tribal Council voted 7-6 with three abstentions to approve the land lease. Eight council members were absent, but according to council rules, once there is a quorum only a majority of those present need to vote for a measure for it to pass.
Ikard will be located on Polacca Airport Road across from Bronco Trailer Sales.
Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr., who only votes in case of a tie, cast the deciding vote. The chairman said he voted to bring Ikard out because this will promote economic development on the Hopi Reservation. The company will pay taxes to the Hopi Tribe and enter into a lease agreement with First Mesa.
Chairman Taylor also noted that Ikard’s pricing is highly competitive, and he wants to obtain the best pricing of all consumer items and services for the Hopi people.
“Competition promotes competitive pricing,” he said.
Some of the council members questioned whether the clan with the right to the land had approved the lease, but Taylor said that the Hopi Office of Real Estate Services assured the tribal council that all of the necessary permission from clans and land users was obtained.
Hopi Vice Chairman Philip Quochytewa Sr. also supports Ikard since Hopi people will have to spend less money on propane. He also likes the idea of Ikard creating two or three jobs in the village.
“This is local empowerment. I like to see competition,” he said.
Ivan Sidney, community service administrator for First Mesa Consolidated Villages, pointed out that Ikard will put in an office that will need two or three people.
He said the village pursued Ikard because it has the reputation of having the lowest propane prices in the area. Sidney also said this is happening without any financial support from the Hopi Tribe; Ikard will pay an estimated $900 per month to First Mesa for the land lease.
Sidney said that although the Tribe’s Risk Management Team was concerned about putting the tanks so close to the airport, “it’s not likely that anything would happen. Los Angeles airport has hundreds of flights and huge gas refineries nearby.”