TSE BONITO, N.M. — On Sept.11, the Resources and Development Committee (RDC) received a report from divisions across the Nation regarding utility disconnections that continue to impact Navajo chapters.
According to Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, six chapters within the Chinle service area, five chapters within the Kayenta service area, six chapters within the Dilkon service area, three chapters within the Shiprock service area and one chapter within the Tuba City service area have experienced electrical disconnections this year.
The report provided information related to the Gaming Net Distribution Fund, which states that the distribution policy will allocate gaming revenues to the 110 chapters in a manner that recognizes both the immediate and long-term needs of the Navajo Nation, specifically for capital projects and utilities, which includes telephone, internet, energy, water and sewage, and solid waste disposal.
RDC chair Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kin Dah Lichíí, Steamboat) said the purpose of placing the report on the committee’s agenda was to develop solutions and recommendations to avoid utility disconnections at chapter facilities because of issues with billing payments.
The Division of Community Development Executive Director Carl Smith said chapters need to submit required documents in a timely manner to utilize the gaming revenue funds and that the division will provide training sessions for chapters that need assistance with the process.
Shepherd directed all involved entities to amend their internal policies to make the process easier for chapters to issue payments for their utility bills and to report to the RDC members on their progress within 30-days.