FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Hopi Tribe has yet to find active revenue to replace the millions of dollars that will no longer be coming in due to the closure of Navajo Generating Station and the Peabody Coal Mine.
Hopi Tribal Councilman LeRoy Shingoitewa said the tribal government needs to look at what they have and utilize that to cover the tribe’s ongoing operational expenses.
The Hopi tribal government’s budget runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, which is unlike the federal and state governments whose budgets have different fiscal deadlines.
Shingoitewa said there is enough funding for the tribal government to operate at its current level through Dec. 31.
The Hopi tribal government has not set its budget for next year and Shingoitewa said if a budget is not passed the tribe will fund everything at the same level, but it may not have the funds to keep going at that level.
The fear is that without new funding, cuts will need to be made to all tribal departments.
“We need to get more conservative in our spending,” he said.
The Hopi Tribal Council’s Budget Oversight team is responsible for submitting the budget to the tribal council. Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva chairs the Budget Oversight team.
Shingoitewa said the tribe’s biggest challenge is to replace the revenue that will be lost because of the Peabody closure. He said the tribe is exploring many areas to bring in other revenue and has been contacted by many with ideas to bring in new revenue, however, there has been no action yet.
Gaming remains a consideration.
While the tribe has no casinos, when Herman Honanie served as chairman the tribe signed a gaming compact with the state of Arizona for the right to conduct gaming.
Shiongoitewa, who serves on the Hopi Tribe‘s Gaming Committee, said they have been talking with other gaming tribes in the state.
“We’re getting organized on how to approach gaming,” he said.
Hopi voters have rejected gaming in the past.
However, the Hopi Tribe gained authority over law enforcement about two months ago meaning the Burea of Indian Affairs police no longer operate on Hopi land. Hopi Police have taken over those duties. The FBI, is still responsible for felonies on the Hopi Reservation. The Hopi Police will not be impacted by the proposed loss in tribal funds since it is funded through the federal government.
Reporter Stan Bindell will be reaching out to Hopi Tribal councilmembers and village officials for their input on the budget and other tribal issues. Bindell can be contacted at email@example.com.