Navajo Utah Commmission hears reports on road issues
by David Boyle
Members of the Navajo Utah Commission discussed road issues, polling locations and ASC offices at their September 13 meeting.
Members of the commission heard from UDOT Region 4 Director Monte Aldridge and Utah Rural Public Transit Program manager Alana Spendlove regarding transportation concerns.
Aldridge updated the commission on the planned updates to roads 162 and 262 leading into Montezuma Creek. Aldridge reported the project was working through the process of receiving right of ways from a variety of different agencies. Construction could start as soon as 2023 but as late as 2024 depending on a variety of factors.
Spendlove reported that the Navajo Utah region should be eligible for Federal Transit Administration funds if they are operating a transit system. Spendlove added that state rural transit funds may be available as well if that transit system is up and running.
The Navajo Utah Commission also passed two resolutions in regards to road maintenance on Navajo Utah Chapters.
One resolution passed supported the efforts of Utah Chapters in seeking regular maintenance and upkeep of unpaved roads and requesting the Navajo Nation Resources and Development Committee and Navajo Division of Transportation to affirm commitment and effort in appropriating funds to address transportation.
The other resolution passed requested San Juan County renew the cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Region regarding road maintenance and seek sufficient funding to perform services and responsibilities.
Members of the Navajo Utah Commission unanimously passed a resolution saying the commission believes it is important and vital that San Juan County use Navajo Chapter polling places during the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election.
The resolution reads that Navajo Chapter polling places should be used as polling places for San Juan County because the settlement agreement provides for designating Navajo polling places as the county polling places.
The resolution states that with Navajo Nation elections as well as county, state, and federal elections happening on November 8, that provides a challenge to Navajo voters who have to travel to two polling places on election day.
An example in the resolution includes Navajo voters casting Navajo Nation ballots at Aneth or Red Mesa Chapters and then having to travel to Montezuma Creek to cast ballots for county elections.
The resolution adds that Navajo Mountain, Monument Valley Welcome Center, Mexican Water, Red Mesa, and Aneth Chapters are located in Utah and serve as polling places for the Navajo Nation general election.
Members of the Navajo Utah Commission also entered an executive session to hear a report from Navajo Nation Department of Justice Attorney Paul Spruhan.
Spruhan reported on the Brackeen v. Haaland November Supreme Court Hearing and Utah Bears Ears National Monument Lawsuit.
Members of the commission also heard a report from the Administrative Service Center (ASC) Department Manager Sonlatsa Jim-Martin.
Jim-Martin reported on the realignment of ASC’s across the Navajo Nation to align with the 24 council delegate districts.
The realignment will put all of the districts with Utah Chapters in them under the Kayenta office directed by Calvin Tsosie. The Administrative Service Center was established in 2016 under the umbrella of the division of community development.
According to the ASC their purpose is to provide technical assistance and training for Chapters to become self-governing units, it also monitors and ensures chapters comply with fiscal policies, procedures and laws when tracking, receiving, allocating and expending funds. ASC also assists chapters in establishing sustainable chapter operations and preserving public trust in government.
Jim-Martin reported the update to internal organization will allow them to continue some efficiencies discovered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Many of our projects tied to our chapters are related to the guidance and leadership of each council delegate and also the prospective chapter leadership that is working with those council delegates.”
Jim-Martin also reports realigning will more evenly divide work between the eight ACS offices, and the re-alignment shouldn’t inconvenience chapter officials as ASC officials should be visiting chapters to perform outreach.