The Oneida Nation’s Finance Team presented to the Nation’s organization the budget forecast for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 and for the upcoming fiscal year 2021. The Nation will remain under a Tier V budget status throughout the remainder of the current fiscal cycle and is projected to operate under a continuing resolution in FY’21 which is the revised FY’20 funding levels.
Treasurer Trish King stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating financial impact to the Nation due to the closure of key businesses that provide our Nation’s revenue streams. We cannot stress enough, the importance of frugality in expenditures to ensure continuance of essential-critical services for the remainder of this fiscal year and into future fiscal years.”
However, the current interruption of revenue streams does not mean the Nation is without a plan to address these fiscal hurdles. As demonstrated throughout the Nation’s history, especially prior to the availability of gaming revenue to support programs and service funding under the Indian Gaming Revenue Act (IGRA), the Nation will make the necessary adjustments to ensure long-term sustainability. This means an updated social contract will need to be developed with the Nation’s members, ensuring most critical programming that supports basic human needs and vital infrastructure is intact and can flourish under updated fiscal plan objectives.
To aide in this recovery, the Nation will use a combination of all resources available to assess the state of the Nation prior to the pandemic. Then, we will realign and reprogram critical services with the goal of creating a manageable infrastructure while always continuing to consider continued protection of tribal sovereignty. Delivery of direct services necessary to support basic needs include affordable and safe housing, clean water, education, accessibility to healthy foods, and police protection. The details will be outlined in the “Recovery Plan” which will provide the Nation’s roadmap to utilize throughout the recovery process, which is currently anticipated to be 3-5 fiscal cycles. This roadmap will be presented to the Oneida Business Committee for approval; and will be shared with the General Tribal Council once our health professionals give their approval for having “large group” gatherings.
The Oneida Nation has received its share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act monies, also known as the CARES Act, in the amount of $39,664,067.01. Under federal rules the money is restricted to expenditures necessary due to the COVID 19 public health emergency. Costs cannot be accounted for in the most recent approved Nation’s budget; and costs must be incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020. We have already identified the following examples to use the CARES Act monies: Unemployment, food programs like elder meals on wheels, food pantry, etc., Small business grants to tribal small businesses within the reservation boundaries, and reimbursable expenses the Nation incurred already like plexiglass barriers, PPE for non-health, etc. We have been informed other tribal nations are issuing “economic stimulus payments” to individual enrolled members, stemming from their CARES money. In accordance with the US Department of Treasury’s guidance, our legal team, along with our lobbyist, we do not believe economic stimulus payments are allowable. However, we are working hard to gain flexibility to use the funds received through federal legislation and future funds that Congress is currently considering.
Our Nation and indigenous communities around the world have survived through pandemics and plagues; we know that the strength and resilience of our people will once again prevail so that we can begin rebuilding a stronger Nation moving forward.
For additional information, please contact COVID 19 hotline at (920) 869-4481 or via email at [email protected]
Tier V Budget contingency Information can be found here;
U.S. Department of Treasury, CARES Act guidance can be found here;