PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council’s decision not to approve a budget amendment has put programs and projects on hold that will improve the lives of the Lumbee people, according to the tribe’s chairman, including the construction of 100 homes.
But the chairman of a key committe says the delay will not be long.
Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. on Wednesday said that council’s move to send the amendment back to the Finance Committee for further review is jeopardizing such things as the hiring of people to run a summer camp for members of the Boys and Girls clubs, and preventing the implementation of a “talking circle” aimed at providing cultural education to young people.
“Every time they (council members) do this, it takes more than two months for us to go back through the process and get the money released,” Godwin said.
Tribal Administrator Freda Porter explained how the money would be used.
“The administration proposed to the council’s Finance Committee, among other things, to place the new Sacred Hoop Grant in the amount of $16,000 into this year’s budget, (as well as) monies for the summer program at the Boys and Girls Club at all sites, and monies for professional training for the tribe’s finance staff,” Porter said. “In addition the administration proposed three suggested uses for the remainder of the hurricane funds donated to the the tribe after Hurricane Matthew.”
She said they included money for rehab of homes affected by the hurricane, one-time grants to make home repairs, and money to help churches damaged during Matthew.
A second adjustment to the budget is needed to ensure receipt of grant money to support the tribe’s efforts to build 100 homes that have been in the planning stages for several months. Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is made available on a first-come, first-served basis, Godwin said.
Godwin said plans are for 50 homes to be built in Lumberton, 35 in Raynham, and 15 in Prospect and Union Chapel.
“There is a lot of work that goes on with state and federal agencies to get these grants,” said Godwin. “It takes time.”
Godwin said his administration been working with the state Golden LEAF Foundation to get grant money to help support infrastructure related to the construction of the 100 homes.
“This grant is also competitive,” he said. “It’s on hold now until the council approves the budget amendment.”
Councilman Corbin Eddings, who serves on the council’s Finance Committee, said Wednesday that the council most likely will hold a special meeting Friday or Saturday to review and vote on the budget adjustment needed before the tribe can apply for the Title 6 housing funds. He said the council’s decision to send the amendments back to the Finance Committee for further review had nothing to do with content.
“We only received the proposals on Tuesday and we are supposed to get such items five days before our meeting,” Eddings said. “We just want more time to look this over.”
Eddings said the amendment will be approved.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.