Navajo County, Cities, Reserves Harvest Federal Windfall | Covid-19

Approximately $ 31 million in COVID-19 relief funds will simplify this year’s budgeting process for Navajo County and the White Mountain cities, according to a presentation to the board this week.

A massive infusion of federal funds will also allow the White Mountain and Navajo tribal government to not only offset the deadly effects of the pandemic, but to provide everything from housing, water and childcare to electricity and broadband services.

Navajo County will raise $ 21.5 million in profit, while cities in the southern half of the county will raise an additional $ 9.7 million. Most of the federal money should arrive before the end of May.

The planned allocations for individual cities include:

• Show Low: $ 2.7 million

• Pinetop Lakeside: $ 1 million

• Snowflake: $ 1.4 million

• Winslow: $ 2.3 million

• Holbrook: $ 1.2 million

The counties and cities have extensive freedom in using the money. This is part of a second round of the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus spending, which totaled around $ 1.9 trillion nationwide.

Much of the money will be used to combat the direct effects of the pandemic, including economic damage to workers, families, small businesses, government and industry. The money can also be used to replace money that has been lost due to lost revenue due to business shutdowns and company restrictions.

Another part is used for health activities such as medical expenses, vaccinations, public health and personnel.

The money can also be used to finance water and wastewater infrastructures, premium payments for key workers and investments in broadband infrastructure.

The county and most cities will decide how the money will actually be spent on getting their 2020-21 budgets approved – a process that is currently underway.

In total, Arizona received around $ 16 billion from the latest round of the COVID-19 stimulus – on top of the $ 9 billion received in two previous bills. That doesn’t include the money being spent to increase weekly unemployment benefits for people whose jobs were affected by the pandemic or the direct payments of $ 1,400 to taxpayers.

The state government held billions in stimulus money and contributed to a current state surplus of $ 4 billion. The state’s current budget plans to cut the highest income tax rate by $ 1 billion annually – including a flat tax rate that will bring a profit to higher-income taxpayers. The state will also receive approximately $ 3 billion in educational funding, which the budget proposal would invest mainly in expanding vouchers and funding charter schools or in keeping the general fund. The proposed state budget would actually cut K-12 funds thanks to a drop in enrollments during the pandemic of around 50,000.

The reservation governments receive their own stimulus payments. The most recent US $ 1.9 trillion bailout plan included $ 31 billion for tribal governments, with money earmarked for health care, housing, vaccinations, medical care, housing, roads, economic development, and a host of other needs. The latest package contained an additional $ 6 billion in Indian health services. Previous stimulus programs included $ 8 billion for the tribes.

The US bailout plan also included $ 1.2 billion for housing, $ 1.1 billion for education programs, $ 1 billion for childcare programs, $ 75 million for food aid, and $ 600 million for economic development and $ 20 million to fight domestic violence on the reservations.

“The Navajo Nation is fighting hard to mitigate this pandemic,” said Vice President Myron Lizer. “With the collaboration of many organizations, the nation has also provided water resources, bathroom accessories, electricity, Internet services, and other enhancements for many families and communities. We look forward to building on this achievement and working together to make further progress, ”said Vice President Lizer.

“The Navajo nation has been hit very hard by COVID-19,” said President Jonathan Nez. The aim of the new relief funds is to provide more direct help and support to our Navajo people and to fund projects that offer long-term benefits. “

Indians have suffered the highest rates of infection and death from the pandemic. Even before COVID, Native Americans had much lower life expectancies, higher rates of chronic disease, higher rates of poverty, and a lack of infrastructure – including water, housing, and electricity on the reservation.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other issues for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach out to him at [email protected]

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