PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council decided Thursday to hold its annual retreat and new member orientation locally rather than following tradition and holding the two-day session in Myrtle Beach or another out-of-territory site.
Speaker Bill James Brewington told the council that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would not cover costs of any expenses at a retreat that did not have to do with housing. Meals, lodging and other unrelated housing expenses would have to come out of each council member’s pocket, he said.
Those attending would still receive their stipend of $75 a meeting, said Brewington.
Brewington said that it would cost about $8,000 to fund a two-day, one-night session in Myrtle Beach. An option, he said, would be to hold the session locally and mentioned The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s business incubator in Pembroke.
Brewington told the council that during a meeting on Monday with Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. and other tribal administrators it was determined through a lengthy phone conversation with HUD officials that many of the activities planned for the orientation and retreat could not be paid with federal funds. Topics planned for the retreat include: the tribe’s constitution; housing; policy and procedures; and grants.
After back and forth discussion between council members who said more can be accomplished at a meeting out of the local area and those who objected to $8,000 being spent for such an event, a majority of the 18 council members present voted to appropriate $3,000 for the retreat and hold it locally on Jan. 13 and Jan. 14. They hope to be able to schedule it at the incubator.
The council also approved $2,500 in unrestricted funds to be used for the annual inauguration ceremony of newly elected council members. The event is planned for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 at the incubator.
Council members to begin three-year terms are: incumbent Janie McFarland, District 2; incumbent Alton Locklear Jr., District 3; Larry Chavis, District 6; incumbent Jan. Lowery, District 7; Corbin Eddings, District 8; Ann Taylor, District 12; and Ricky Burnett, District 13.
In other business, Councilwoman Anita Hammonds Blanks told council members that HUD has given the tribe permission to use HUD money to help some low-income residents whose homes were destroyed as a result of Hurricane Matthew with down payments on new homes.
‘There are a lot of families needing help to relocate,” she said.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.