Ask Council: Week of June 22, 2020
The membership can ask Tribal Council questions through AskCouncil@puyalluptribe-nsn.gov.
Here are some recent questions, and responses.
What is your strategic plan for providing COVID-19 testing that is readily available to all, free and fast?
We asked the Tribe’s medical director, Dr. Shelton, to respond:
We are continuing to re-evaluate but right now we are able to readily test anyone seen in the clinic – if a physician decides a test is necessary and orders the test. It is free to our patients and we have results in 1-2 days.
We are also currently evaluating a more rapid test however there are issues with accuracy and supplies.
Just a reminder – there are many issues to consider with testing when you don’t have symptoms. If you test too early, it will be negative. If you test negative, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop the disease the next day. There is also a high rate of false negatives.
So it is best to consider that everyone is a possible carrier of COVID-19 and we all should wear masks and try to stay 6 feet apart in public.
What metrics did you use to determine which staff and which departments are “essential”?
Council and Administration faced a stark financial reality this spring. Closing the casinos shut down most of the Tribe’s revenue, and we did not know at the time how long that would last. That meant the Tribe had to draw on reserves. Difficult decisions were made to both continue services and keep the Tribe’s assets as intact as possible for as long as possible.
To do this, Council prioritized services and tasked Administration with two goals: Maintain membership benefits as much as possible, and find new revenue through federal and other sources. Council told Administration to take a systematic, objective approach, based on the needs of the organization and the community, with the guidance of the Law Office, to determine which staff and departments were needed to maintain membership benefits and services.
Do we know what percentage of the revenue made from the casinos and other businesses will be allocated to the per capita program? Will there be a maximum or minimum cap?
A maximum of fifty-five percent of net gaming revenue will go to the per capita program and 10 percent of nongaming revenue will fund the new per capita program.
Per capita, minors’ trust:
Council received many questions about the per capita program and minors’ trust. Council will address these topics during the virtual membership meeting on Saturday, June 27. You can find registration information on the website, PuyallupTribe-nsn.gov. Here are two questions and responses:
Is it possible for adults only to maintain their income consistently since that income also supports the children?
Council recognizes that adults’ household expenses are greater than minors’ expenses and therefore prioritized per capita payments to adults.
Beyond per capita, though, Council intends to create more assistance programs to help households transition to the new per capita program. Council will discuss this in the membership meeting Saturday.
With changes coming, will all of the member services and programs still be available?
Council has prioritized keeping member services and programs funded during these uncertain times.