Eleven months after the Ute Indian Tribe announced a boycott of Roosevelt city, tribal and city officials continue efforts to reach a compromise that would put an end to the economic sanctions and improve relations between the two governments.
"The city and tribe are still corresponding (by letter) with different proposals," said Roosevelt Mayor Dennis Jenkins. "Each of our proposals have been responded to by the tribe with a counterproposal. No agreement has been reached."But Jenkins and Duchesne County commissioners hope that an accord may not be too far off. The City Council and county commissioners, along with attorneys and law enforcement officers from the two jurisdictions will meet in executive session Monday night to discuss "crucial" matters pertaining to the tribe's request to be granted criminal jurisdiction over members accused of committing misdemeanor crimes in Roosevelt.
"The tribe has been patient, we've been patient. I think we're all in the mind-set that we can find something to benefit the entire basin," Jenkins said.
In May, the City Council voted 3-2 to retain jurisdiction over tribal members charged with misdemeanor crimes in the city limits but did not close the door to further discussions.
Jenkins declined to elaborate on specific proposals contained in the letters sent to the tribe for its consideration. He did say if a satisfactory agreement can be reached, the tribe's governing business committee is willing to support the city in a plan to approach the Utah State Tax Commission to ask for a change in the tax formula to allow Roosevelt to receive back more than the typical 1 percent of the 6 percent levy. Enrolled Ute Tribe members are not charged sales tax on purchases made in Roosevelt. The city depends heavily on sales tax revenue to pay for city services, streets and recreation.
In September 1997 the Business Committee ordered all tribal departments to boycott businesses within Roosevelt's city limits after a federal judge lifted an injunction that prohibited the city from exercising misdemeanor criminal jurisdiction over tribal members.
According to the Tax Commission, from April 1997 to April 1998 gross taxable retail sales in Roosevelt dropped by 7 percent, going from $4.1 million to $3.8 million. Meanwhile in Duchesne County, gross taxable sales for that same time period climbed by 39 percent, going from $7.2 million to $10 million.