The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved the largest comprehensive budget in the tribe’s history at $767 million during its meeting on September 14. As part of that, Cherokee Nation citizens are about to receive more services.
The tribe’s fiscal year begins October 1 and the new budget is $35 million more than the 2015 fiscal year.
The increased funding will be dispersed as such:
Health services will receive a $30 million increase;
Commerce will see a $3.5 million increase;
Human Services will receive a $3 million increase;
Career Services receives a $2.5 million increase;
Higher Education College Scholarships will see a $1.5 million increase.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker proposed the budget that was unanimously approved Monday night.
“The unprecedented financial growth is directly due to the success of our businesses, strategic investments, concentrated effort in third-party health care billing, increased number of federal grants and overall excellent financial stewardship,” Chief Baker said. “With an increased annual budget, Cherokee Nation citizens and employees will see our tribal programs and services grow to meet the needs of our people. When we have more dollars to grow our capacity and serve Cherokee people, that is a great thing.”
Essentially the increased funding will provide new homes and jobs as well as assistance to elders and childcare services.
“It is truly miraculous to see where our tribe is today in comparison to even our recent past. Against all odds, we continue to prosper and move forward, as indicated by this budget,” said Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd.
In other council business at the meeting, the legislative body confirmed the following:
— Lacy Horn was reappointed as treasurer
— Linda O’Leary was reappointed as registrar of the Cherokee Nation Registration Committee
— Janelle Fullbright was appointed Cherokee Nation Businesses board member
— Authorized the Cherokee Nation to receive more bison later this year from the InterTribal Buffalo Council.