On Sept. 23, the Fifth Osage Nation Congress voted unanimously to approve a revised projected revenue level in the amount of $111.5 million for the Nation’s government.
The projected revenue level is used during the budget process. The annual budgets cannot pass the projected revenue amount per the Osage Constitution. The Congress is continuing to review the proposed budgets and other bills as the Tzi-Zho Session continues.
According to the ONCR 16-38 (sponsored by Congressman Ron Shaw), the Congress updated the 2017 fiscal year annual projected revenue amount to $111.5 million from $47.3 million in April when they passed ONCR 16-22. Anticipated revenues include $47.1 million in tribal funds, $25.5 million in non-tribal funds and $3.1 million from the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center/ Indian Health Service multi-year funding agreement, which is restricted for spending on health-related expenses.
Other tribal funds will come from the Nation’s revenue-making entities including the Gaming Enterprise, Tax Commission and bank interest earned. Non-tribal revenue will come from federal grants awarded to the Nation.
The projected revenue figure also includes restricted-spending items including: $30.8 million in the Nation’s permanent fund (restricted to spending on direct services for Osages and has not been touched since inception); $2.9 million in unobligated funds from FY 2015; and $1.9 million in unappropriated funds from FY 2016.
During the 2016 Hun-Kah Session, the Congress passed an initial 2017 projected revenue figure in ONCR 16-22, but Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear vetoed that resolution noting that figure did not include the permanent fund figure as available for appropriation if an emergency occurred requiring access for direct services. The Nation’s direct services for Osages include the higher education scholarship program, health benefit card and Medicare supplement programs, and burial assistance.
The Congress also took action on the following items on Sept. 23:
- Congress unanimously approved resolution ONCR 16-37, which gives Congressional consent and approval of the ON Gaming Enterprise Board’s annual plan of operations for Osage Casinos during the fiscal year 2017.
- Congress voted unanimous to pass resolution ONCR 16-39 to give Congressional consent and approval of the Bluestem Ranch LLC Board’s annual plan of operation for the 2017 fiscal year.
Like the Nation’s Gaming Enterprise Board’s annual plan of operation for the Osage Casinos, the Bluestem Ranch board’s plan also contains confidential and business proprietary information.
- Congress voted unanimously to pass bill ONCA 16-110, which authorizes $100,000 to be spent on an outstanding utility bill. According to bill sponsor Congressman Ron Shaw, the utility bill will be paid from additional tribal program revenue and will not come from the Treasury general fund.
- Also, Congress voted unanimously to authorize $1,250,000 to be appropriated for debt service payment on the ON Campus Master Plan Loan by passing bill ONCA 16-103 during the Sept. 23 session.
To view filed legislation and the Congressional calendar for scheduled sessions and committee meetings, go online to: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch
The sessions and meetings are also live streamed at the following link: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/multimedia/live-media