Challenges, opportunities for new Council

The new Tribal Council took office this month, during a time of great opportunity, as well as serious challenges for the Confederated Tribes.

The tribal budget will be a critical point of focus, not only looking to 2017, but for the current year as well.

On the bright side, the Twenty-Seventh Tribal Council is taking office just as the cannabis enterprise is beginning the greenhouse construction phase. In time, this project could generate millions in needed new revenue.

Another positive development: The tribes and Natural Resources Branch are developing a new enterprise to realize value from the reservation forest products.

There are logs at the mill, and others in the forest that can be sold at market value, bringing in trust revenue. The forest products situation, though, has two significant down sides:

First, about 80 tribal members lost their jobs this year, when Warm Springs Forest Products Industries shut down.

And second: Last year the previous Tribal Council, finance and management developed the current year budget on an assumption that the mill would be contributing to the general fund. That is no longer the case, as WSFPI is in receivership.

Another challenge became apparent just recently:

Last fall, Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises projected a dividend of $2 million for the current year budget.

However, an announcement this week is that the Power and Water dividend will be $1 million—leaving another $1 million short for the present year.

Clearly, the new Council is dealing with serious challenges. But fortunately there are some new opportunities on the horizon.