Additional issues across reservation’s centers need to be addressed, CBC and director agree

NESPELEM – The Colville Confederated Tribes will soon publish a request asking companies to submit proposals concerning replacement of the Omak Community Center roof, but the step is only one aimed at addressing a lengthy list of needs at community centers across the reservation, according to community center direct Nancy Johnson. 

The decision came following a discussion in the Colville Business Council’s Management and Budget Committee with Johnson, Wednesday.

Though the roof in Omak must be replaced, Johnson stated additional needs have remained unmet across the reservation’s four District centers. One example Johnson shared was that the Nespelem Community Center kitchen continues to need considerable work.

 “Nespelem’s kitchen has been put off for so many years, I really think it has been a priority for a long time,” said CBC member Andy Joseph Jr. 

But the issue comes down to funding, said Johnson: “Just so you know, doing the roof, it is going to use funds that we had earmarked for remodeling the kitchen … All of the centers have projects that need to get done.”

Johnson noted at Nespelem, “The kitchen is down to a warmer on the burners. Now we are just plugging in hot plates.”

“The community centers have put all their unmet needs in every budget cycle, and we have choose to ignore it at this table,” said CBC member Susie Allen. “As usual, they come in and it’s now dire need. It’s action now on whatever their needs are on all four centers. We cannot wait here and wait for them to fall apart or cause a public safety issue for our community.”

Johnson had previously discussed the list of problems in Chambers, and CBC member Karen Condon asked for an updated list before further asking if the community centers had sufficient funding to complete each project.

“The funding I have right now will take care of the Omak roof,” said Johnson. “We can get started on the Nespelem Community Center, but I don’t think the funds that are there will be sufficient.”

Upon reading out the corresponding recommendation, Johnson reiterated the funding came from the Nespelem Center’s budget. Johnson oversees operation of the Nespelem Center and works as director over the four other centers across the reservation.

“It sounds to me like these are maintenance issues, and we are not keeping up when stuff wears out and needs to be replaced,” said CBC member Joe Somday. “We have a roof issue in Omak. We have a kitchen issue in Nespelem. It’s kind of heartbreaking when you’re plugging in hotplates. I say this just needs to be fixed.”

CBC member Jack Ferguson stated the committee would work with tribal administration to identity a project coordinator concerning the unmet needs.

CBC approved publication of the RFP during special session Thursday through unanimous decision.

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