Tomeka Sinclair Staff writer

PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. is in the process of reviewing a $22 million budget approved earlier this week by the Lumbee Tribal Council.

Council gave the spending plan the go-ahead Tuesday during a special called meeting.

The proposed budget, which totals $22,130,033.36, is a combination of federal grant funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education.

“Approximately 90% of the budget is from HUD for affordable housing,” said Tammy Maynor, the tribe’s director of Governmental Affairs.

The budget is significantly lower than the current operating budget of $33.25 million.

During Godwin’s State of the Tribe address in August, the chairman presented the budget his office would send to the council for approval. The bulk of it went toward homeownership, $5 million; rehabilitation, $3.8 million; and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $1.8 million.

A total of $89,770.61 was to be allocated for veterans services, $459,367.61 for crime prevention and $1.4 million for youth services.

“This budget focuses on direct services to our members, including services for our vulnerable population and continue major housing and infrastructure projects that will continue to strengthen our communities,” Godwin said during his address.

The tribe’s chairman has until Friday to either sign off on or veto the budget, according to Danielle McLean, Legal and Compliance officer for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. If signed the budget will be available to view at the Lumbee Tribal Administration building for 30 days, at which time it will go into effect.

Until then, the tribe will continue to operate under the 2019-20 budget. In an action taken during a regular business meeting livestreamed via Zoom Thursday, the council members approved a resolution to continue funding operations in the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2021 using the 2019-20 budget. The continuance will last through Dec. 31.

In September, the council voted to continue operating under the previous fiscal year’s budget through Nov. 30. Because the 2020-21 budget will not be passed until after Nov. 30, another continuance was needed.

In other tribal business, the Lumbee Tribal Council approved Thursday a resolution that supports expanding the Optimizing the Talking Circle intervention.

Expansion will include researching and obtaining a better understanding of ways to optimize improving the mental health of American Indian youth affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and future distressful incidents, such as natural disasters.

Because of technical difficulties Thursday, the meeting is not available on the tribe’s website but can be viewed on the tribe’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.