TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council passed two budget modifications during its January monthly meeting:

• Appropriating an additional $200,000 to provide relief for citizens affected by the recent winter ice storm.

• Approving a modification containing several community growth elements but laden with a controversial second bonus for tribal employees.

The Council voted to accept Chief Smith’s proposal to add $200,000 to money already spent in delivering items and work crews to Cherokee communities to assist in the emergency management efforts of the winter ice storm. The tribe delivered thousands of gallons of water as well as generators, cots and other necessities to shelters and community centers, as well as provided work crews and equipment to assist counties in the clearing roads of fallen trees.

The second modification included many popular items, including environmental protection efforts, pow wow ground improvements, mortgage assistance, diabetes funding, a water line project and more. However, the modification also included a second bonus for Cherokee Nation employees, in addition to one proposed by Chief Smith and approved by the Council last fall. Tribal Council member Jack Baker made the motion to vote on the second bonus separate from all other items in the modification request, but his motion was defeated during a roll call vote of the councilors. The combined vote then passed by a narrow margin.

In other business, the Council approved the nominations of Kenneth Limore as a member of the Employee Appeals Board, and David Ballew and Eddie Humphrey as board members of Cherokee Nation Businesses, Inc. The Council also authorized approval of a right of way for a gas line under the Arkansas Riverbed and passed an act relating to the preservation of Cherokee culture at tribal facilities.

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