Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Sept. 19

Good news from Coconino County

Deb Hill, Coconino County Supervisor, Disctrict 4.

Deb Hill, Coconino County Supervisor, Disctrict 4.

Early spring greetings to everyone! As winter draws to a close across northern Arizona I wanted to update you on a variety of projects that are under way in Coconino County and which have benefits to all our residents. I am sure one or more of these will interest each of you.

• Outreach Program for District 4 and 5 - In cooperation with Supervisor Louise Yellowman (County District 5) and Sheriff Bill Pribil, I have developed a way to reach out to our most rural residents. Every quarter (March, June, September and December) we will host a meeting in a different part of the county. Currently we are locating these meetings at Chapter Houses, but we can meet in any public facility. County staff are present at these meetings to discuss programs and answer questions. This is a way for residents to bring their questions, issues and concerns to the attention of the policy makers at the county and get answers. So far we have had very successful meetings at Tuba City and Leupp Chapters. If you would like to schedule a meeting in your area, please contact my office at (928) 779-6644.

• New Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for Road Work signed with BIA - Coconino County maintains over 200 miles of roads on the Navajo Nation under an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The roads to be maintained and the level of maintenance are as approved by the BIA, and Coconino County provides the equipment and staff to do the work. In many places the roads are not well constructed-running over sand or clay-and much maintenance is necessary to keep them passable. We now have started a new program that will bank some of the funds every year to create a pool of money that can be used in the future to improve the worst sections of these roads with the correct materials and engineering, which means that the roads will stay passable in any weather and for much longer in between grading. The county is committed to providing on going road maintenance service for our rural residents.

• Inter-Tribal Advisory Council working on Native issues - Members of the Coconino County Inter-Tribal Advisory Council act as an official liaison and communication link between Native American communities and Coconino County governmental agencies. The Council has identified key issues and concerns for Native Americans and is in the process of creating programs to address these concerns. The Inter-Tribal Advisory Council meets once a month in Flagstaff at the County Administrative Center. The meetings are free and open to the public. Anyone wishing more information can contact Elaine Beyal at (928) 779-6644.

• County leading discussions to protect Picture Canyon-Picture Canyon is a relatively unknown archaeological site within walking distance of the Flagstaff Mall. The small stream is framed by tall rock cliffs, and on many of the cliff faces and boulders are petroglyphs dating back to the Sinagua culture. Pit houses, pot shards and lithics abound in the area, and clearly the presence of water drew early people to this site. The canyon is on state land, which is scheduled for sale to private developers in 2007 or 2008. I have been leading a group whose goal is to obtain long-term protection for this beautiful site, and it looks like this year we will see some progress. The group has consulted with tribes of the area and there is interest in the plants and other natural resources of Picture Canyon, as well as interest in the archaeology.

• Water discussions remind us to work together - Along with Supervisor Liz Archuleta, I am a member of the Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council (or WAC). The WAC members represent all communities in Coconino County, including the Navajo, Hopi and Havasupai tribes. The purpose of the WAC is to "coordinate and cooperate in identification, prioritization and implementation of comprehensive policies, projects and programs to assist in meeting the water needs of the Coconino Plateau." The WAC recently heard the results of a Bureau of Reclamation study on water resources in the area, and we learned that there will not be enough water for all our communities in the future. The WAC is investigating what water resources are available and how we could access them to benefit all communities. If you have questions or comments, call my office at (928) 779-6644.

It is a pleasure to provide this update. Please let me know if my office can help you in any way. Happy spring!

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