Tribal Council Tackles New Board Appointments, Surprise Inventories
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council faced a jam-packed agenda on Wednesday, Feb. 13, including everything from a new fire engine purchase, to tribal land purchases downtown, to a surprise inventory of the saw mill.
The Tribal Council voted to direct Hoopa Forest Industries to give an update on all saw mill resources and revenues, and to provide an inventory of lumber products and a list of sales.
Tribal Councilmember Augie Montgomery said, “We’re doing this because tribal employees have said that parts and trucks with lumber were leaving on days when the saw mill wasn’t open.”
The Council also appointed several new board and committee members.
Dawn McCovey and Nena Macias were appointed to the Education Board. Adrienne Drake will join the Land Commission, and Leona Jackson and Julia Hostler are now on the Public Utilities Board.
John E. Robbins Jr. was appointed to the Housing Authority Board, and he will serve as the Board’s new chairman.
Hoopa AmeriCorps and Tribal Civilian Community Corps (TCCC) Director Tahsanchat Cooper reported that volunteers from Hoopa were completing their fourth mission on the East Coast, helping people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“We’re now running the volunteer reception for the entire state of New Jersey,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the teams will return soon, and will spend at least 60 days in Hoopa to rest and recover. TCCC volunteers presented the Council with t-shirts from the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and a bear.
The Council next approved Hoopa Wildland Fire Department’s request for $342,000 to buy a new Type III, 4×4, Wildland Interface Fire Engine.
The Roads Department was directed to concentrate on improvements to Baldy Flat Road, and Interim Roads Department Director Lorne Norton requested that there be a meeting with people who live near Baldy Flat before his department begins work in the area.
Tribal Councilmember Hayley Hutt said, “Baldy Flat Road is the number one priority for ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] monies. Working on this will have a big impact on people’s lives.”
The council also approved over a dozen requests from various departments to carry over funds from Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 to FY 2013, and several travel requests.
Several Council and staff members will be traveling to Washington D.C. for meetings with U.S. Department of Interior Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, and to lobby members of Congress.
Office of Emergency Services (OES) Director Rod Mendes will be traveling to the Native American Emergency Management Conference, where he will be a speaker on two discussion panels.
There was some controversy when the Council looked at a proposed $60,000 contract to hire Stephen “Steve” Baldy to prepare grant requests connected to the DRI budget.
Vice Chairman Byron Nelson Jr., said “You can put things on the agenda for discussion, but you can’t take action the same day because you have to give the public proper notice.”
The Council voted to approve the contract.
Land Management received permission to bid just over $6850 on a Mesket Field lot being sold in a tax sale auction, and a fund was set up so they could bid on other tax sales within the Hoopa Valley.
Ken Norton, the director of Land Management, said that they hope to bid on multiple properties each year, with the goal making more land available for tribal members’ housing in the valley.
“The lot has electrical, water and sewer hookups installed, and the remnants of a burned trailer have to be removed. This is a very good bargain,” Norton said.