Chaos reigned in the Quarterly RTC Meeting held at the Tribal Head Quarters. With about 50 people in attendance, the meeting was frequently disrupted with rude outbursts from some members of the public who oppose Constitutional Reform and try to use intimidation tactis as a means of getting their way. Supporters of the CWEN were also present and presented requests to the Council to continue forward with the reform efforts.
Without any due process, a resolution was presented by Secretary/Treasurer, Tara Mason, to pursue censorship of Chairwoman Vizenor because she continues to support the vote of the people, the resolution passed 4-0 (Chairwoman Vizenor had left the meeting, Vice Chairman Punky Clark voted). Mason also made a motion to remove Chairwoman Vizenor, it was seconded by Kathy Goodwin and voted on 3-1 with Bevins opposed (this action failed because it did not have the necessary 2/3 vote which has been defined as 4/5 of the entire Council).
Lorna LaGue attended the Council Work Session, here are her notes with Vizenor, Mason, Goodwin, & Clark present:
- Scott Omlid, CFO presented financial updates:
- Three lines were overspent in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 with assistance being the largest overage.
- District 1 was over $28,800 and District 2 about $27,600.
- The FY15 budget exceeded the previous year by about $3,000,000
- Even though the FY16 budgets have already been approved, Punky asked why his District had a smaller assistance budget, it was explained the numbers were based upon population.
- Last year there was about $2.8m added throughout the year, some areas were underspent, some were over but the total ended up about $3m over - in previous years they had not gone over. The overages were contributed to projects and new employees who were not originally budgeted for.
- Discussion on budgeting needs for the repair of buildings throughout the Reservation - again, I wonder why this conversation did not happen before budgets were approved for the FY that started October 1st?
- Housing Staff was present, they are moving 7 families into Tax Credit 5 homes in Rice Lake and Elbow Lake. They have 41 units boarded up right need, each needs an average of $25,000 to rehab, the total cost is estimated to be about $1,025,000. Housing gets about $3m each year, about 20% is for administrative costs - they are actually 78% spent of their budget that started October 1st due to the amounts of outstanding loans. It costs over $500,000 to keep the doors open at the apartment building in Mahnomen. Loans are out on various projects, one is at 7% interest. There are some questions on previous activities, like the board approving a $1.8m loan that ended up being $2.3m instead. The need for a foresic audit was discussed. Guest Leonard Thompson interrupted stating that the Tribe shold be going after Gordon Construction because he was responsible for those homes. There are also more units that will need rehab, both low rent units and tax credit units. Mold remediation is very expensive. Guest Bill Crowell stated the mold problem is due to poor construction also the Tax Credit 5 homes had change orders that caused some homes to be left without insulation - he believes a licensed contractor is responsible for 10 years. Concern was expressed about the possibility of receivorship. They do plan to pursue arbitration on some of the issues. Right now they need $3,739,940 to get the RTC up-to-date on their portion of the funding due. Action tabled until all paperwork can be reviewed.
- Natural Resources staff were present to discuss changes with netting; they advise a "Netting Committee" be formed. The water level at Rice Lake landing was also brought up. Concern was expressed on the prvious re-seeding of Rice Lake, it appears the rice kernals may have been affected. The Wolf plan has been reviewed by legal, Bob Shimek will manage in conjunction with deer population.
- Ricky White is requesting 5 deer for COLA student activities. No one seemed to have all the information necessary for the request. Pine Point is also asking for 1 deer to teach students - request was approved.
- The next 1855 Treaty Council meeting will be November 18th at Leech Lake. Confusion over who were the alternatives for the 1855 Council, both Leonard Thompson and Marvin Manypenny were present and thought they were the alternatives, but Kathy Goodwin also thought she was as well.
- A hoop dancer will be here Nov 13-15, Punky requested a hotel room from the Joint Account. Approved.
- Erma brought up the next TEC meeting which is scheduled for Nov 9th. Discussion will be held on taking the Secretary of the Interior out of the MCT Constitution. Guest Raymond Bellcourt mentioned he thought this was a big mistake because that was the only protection there was. No discussion came from the Council members.
- Land office leases were approved for homesteads and service line agreements. Prompted by a request for snowmobile trails, a discussion was held on pull tab donations and what they are being used for. Discussion was held on CRP leases that last for 10/15 years, we would receive $208,700 in compensation - Council members were opposed. Homesite applications will be put on hold over the winter months as new sites cannot be looked at during this time.
- Guest Leonard Thompson talked about how the MCT assured him he is entitled to 25 acres of agricultural land, but he does not get answers from the Land Office. It was explained that no one is working on ag leases at this time due to the fact that a couple staff members have left. Leonard wants pasture land on the Blair Road and wants an answer today.
- Enrollments were present, Chairwoman Vizenor mentioned this was a confidential matter so I and a couple others stepped out; however, a couple other guests remained in the meeting during the Enrollment discussions.
- Ec Dev, Finance, & Health staff were present to discuss the new Naytahwaush Clinic, the application is about 90% complete but now the Council wants to re-look at the project and create a prioritized listing of buildings needed throughout the Reservation. The new clinic is estimated to cost $15-$16m. Discussion was held on who is seen at the Clinic, Tara wants Tribal members to be the first priority. They are meeting next week to further discuss the 638 process with IHS and have found it difficult to get some of the information needed. Discussion was held on the Mahnomen Health Center which may be up for sale.
- Council is planning to meet with the Bush Foundation on November 23rd to discuss accepting the $439,000 grant. They have been informed the last grant has not yet been closed out. Tara stated the Council had previously approved accepting the grant.
Monday Work Session Notes 10/19/15
October 19, 2015
Notes from Lorna LaGue who attented the Monday Work Session with Stephanie Williams. Clark chaired the meeting with Mason, Goodwin, & Bevins present:
- The minutes have not yet been posted back on the website.
- TEC meeting scheduled November 9th at Bois Forte
- One of the other Bands is requesting 1/6 of the Star Lake Casino project revenue since the property will be located on trust land OFF the reservation.
- Housing issues were discussed, some action had been taken by the Council previously, it was now deemed inappropriate because it did not go through the board. Council has asked that The Exec Dir duties be defined to include administration and grants. A social worker had been asked for 5 months ago. A joint meeting needs to be scheduled.
- Naytahwaush has some homeless people due to Housing evictions as the result of their electricity being turned off. It seems contradictory that some people get their back rent wiped clean while others get evicted for the lights being shut off.
- Kathy needs 2 furnaces and Tara needs a refrigerator for constituents.
- Lenny Fineday was present to discuss a contractor for the Land Office. This person will work on refuge issues, but is being stalled by the BIA; they will have him assist with fee-to-trust applications. Staff member Kathy Warren is now in charge of the Land Office.
- Niiji Radio would like to broadcast live the Quarterly meeting, a concern was addressed over the language used and if there would be a delay in the airing to allow for the strong language to not air.
- A resolution previously past in opposition of the Sandpiper needs to be re-done because Attorney Frank Bibeau has added new verbiage.
- The next 1855 meeting date has not yet been set, but it will be held in Cass Lake. The status of Mille Lacs is unknown, they are concerned over protecting their 1837 treaty rights.
- Staff from the Roads department were present to discuss Elder's driveways. There was $30,000 available that served about 40 people and some things were not charged. There are also some non-Elders on the list (put on by Council Members). They need $10,000 more to complete the projects.
- The Water/Sewer department discussed a septic system that is estimated to cost about $56,000. The maximum IHS will pay is $46,800; two or three sites could actually be completed for this cost. Kathy will follow up with the District 2 individual. There is another one that has exceeded the max in District 2, $2,750 more was needed to complete it - the Council approved the request.
- Drug testing staff were present to discuss Leech Lake's opiat program. They are trying out new drug testing companies. ICW has the highest number of drug testing. Since Court Orders fall under the category of "forensic", health insurance will not pay for them. Consensus of the Council was to switch companies.
Meeting adjourned at 10:58 a.m.
Council Returns Funding for Constitutional Reform
August 03, 2015
In the weekly worksession, a motion was made by Secretary/Treasurer Tara Mason to return Bush Foundation Nation Building Funding for proposed constitution transition by 8/7/16, Second by Punky Clark, Motion passed 3-0. No discussion had been held with staff in regards to the status of the grant, which was due to expire the end of the month but was also awarded new funding for $439,000.
Strategic planning and the new casino projects were discussed; upfront costs of land purchases are high. There was also mention of an "expansion" for Shooting Star (hmm, haven't heard much about that one yet).