PEMBROKE — Members of the Lumbee Tribal Council were wrong last week when they said that more than $18 million the tribe has in its coffers is money held over from previous fiscal years dating back to 2007, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Fayetteville Observer reported this morning that Donna White, a HUD spokeswoman, confirmed that the tribe has nearly $18 million on hand, but about $13 million of that amount is money that was deposited to the tribe’s account in August and cannot be used until the tribe’s new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, which is Monday. White said that the council is incorrect in its contention that $13 million more will be added to the current $18 million, giving the tribe more than $31 million to allocate during the coming fiscal year.
White said that another HUD allocation will not be received by the tribe until sometime in 2013. That money will be used during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
White said that confusion over how much money is available is a result of the fact that the tribe operates a year behind the federal government’s fiscal year. The federal agency designates the money to provide housing services by the year in which they are granted.
Alex Baker, a spokesman for the Lumbee Tribe, told The Robesonian recently that HUD deposited the 2012-13 funds in the tribe’s account after the Tribal Council adopted its Indian Housing Plan. The plan is not as specific as a budget, but any changes made to it during the budget process must be submitted and approved by HUD.
White’s statements support what tribal administrators told The Robesonian, that council members were wrong last week to announce that $18 million had been unspent and the tribe would have $31 million in HUD funds to allocate this coming fiscal year.
Tribal Speaker Pearlean Revels and Councilman McDuffie Cummings were among the most vocal in making that claim last week. The Robesonian tried unsuccessfully to reach both for comment this morning.
“It is confusion about when HUD allotments are received, ” said Tammy Maynor, the tribe’s director of Governmental Affairs. “It’s a timing issue. We are actually operating on money a year behind.”
Ed Brooks, the tribe’s attorney, said the council does not understand how HUD money the tribe receives is recorded. He said that a change in HUD’s allocation system may have led to some of the confusion.
The Robesonian tried on Monday and this morning to reach Donna White, the HUD spokesperson, but she did not immediately return phone calls.
According to the Fayetteville newspaper, White said that HUD changed its allocation system this year. All leftover funds from previous fiscal years are deposited into one account; in years past the money went into separate accounts.
Currently there are more than 1,000 members of the tribe waiting to receive a new home or have their present dwelling rehabilitated.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.