CIA expects cuts of 20 percent
The Chilkoot Indian Association is bracing for funding cuts of up to 20 percent in the coming year, tribal administrator Dave Berry said this week.
The tribe will hold its annual membership meeting 4 p.m. Saturday at the ANB Hall.
Berry said he’s heard from the offices of U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski about pending budget cuts.
“Our budget will be tight in the coming years. Indian budgets are being cut 20 percent, so we’ll have to be more creative,” Berry said. Areas that could see reductions include the tribe’s scholarship program and housing rehabilitation, he said.
“It will cut direct services for our members. Some programs may see a 5 percent cut and others may see a 30 percent cut. We don’t know,” Berry said. “But it won’t hurt as badly because we’re ready and planning for it.”
The tribe has an annual budget of $6.5 million and employs nine people in tribal offices and nine in its construction firm. Three others work in its firewood program and a maintenance worker takes care of the tribe’s maintenance needs, including at Chilkoot Estates subdivision.
The tribe is currently building an 1,100-square-foot, single-family home in the subdivision, where three larger homes were already built, as well as two, occupied four-plex apartments. “We have room for 22 homes all together but that’s a 20-year program to put all 22 in.”
CIA is approaching completion of its new office. The tribe officially moved into the building at Third Avenue near Willard Street Dec. 1, but some interior work remains. Berry said an open house may be held before the New Year. The 5,100-square-foot building was funded by a state grant of $1.31 million, about $150,000 from the Federal Highway Administration and about $650,000 in tribal funds.
The new building nearly doubles the tribe’s previous office space on Main Street near Second Avenue and includes a conference room, seven offices, a storage area and kitchenette. The building also brings CIA into compliance with access requirements of federal law, with features like wheelchair ramps. Many tribal members couldn’t get up the stairs at the tribe’s previous office, Berry said.
Berry said the tribe has about 525 members and he expects a big crowd at Saturday’s meeting, which will include a meal of “turkey, ham and all the fixins.” Instead of presentations by tribal officials, written information about the tribe’s progress in the past year will be shared with members, Berry said.
The Chilkoot Indian Association is one of two federally recognized tribes in the valley, including the Chilkat Indian Village, which represents Chilkat tribe members.