Attorneys for the state, the Ute Indian Tribe and Uintah and Duchesne counties have agreed on a settlement in the final part of a 25-year-old dispute over jurisdiction.

The final part of the dispute concerned taxes.The parties agreed that enrolled tribal members who live within the original boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and who earn their living from work on the reservation do not have to pay state income taxes.

Tribal members who buy merchandise off the reservation must pay the state sales tax, but no sales tax will be charged for goods and services received within the current reservation boundaries. For example, if a tribal member purchased a new car from a Salt Lake dealership and had it delivered to his or her home on the reservation, the member would be exempt from state sales tax.

Under the agreement, the tribe-operated gasoline station and tribal members who purchase fuel within the boundaries of the current reservation are exempt from the state fuel tax.

Approximately 3,500 tribal members live in Utah.

The reservation's original boundaries include more than 4 million acres covering much of Duchesne County and parts of western Uintah County. Court rulings have declared that pockets of property within those borders -- such as acreage settled by white pioneers at the turn of the century -- are no longer part of the reservation.

After more than a century of eroding boundaries and ignored tribal sovereignty, the situation is beginning to change, said tribal attorney Robert Thompson.

"It's gratifying to see how far the state has come and how their understanding and appreciation for tribal government and tribal sovereignty has grown," Thompson said.

Assistant Attorney General Philip Pugsley said a new era of cooperation has emerged, and he credits Gov. Mike Leavitt.

"He made the decision to negotiate with the tribe," Pugsley said. "The political will to bring an end to this dispute was there."

Uintah and Duchesne counties also "wanted to bring an end to this and move on," Pugsley said.

Two bills making the necessary changes in the state tax law were passed last month by the Legislature. Leavitt is expected to sign the bills.

Senior U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins also is likely to sign off on the agreement.

The suit began in 1975 when the tribe sought to enact its own legal code. A dispute over where the code would be in effect led to a quarter-century of litigation in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other issues that have been settled through the years include questions of jurisdiction of law enforcement officers.

In 1998, the tribe, state and local governments took a step toward a "seamless" web of law enforcement in the Uinta Basin.

Under agreements approved by Jenkins, officers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Uintah and Duchesne counties and the state were cross-deputized, allowing them to chase suspects, make arrests or write citations wherever they are needed.

Tribal members accused of misdemeanors inside the original boundaries of the reservation -- but on land that is now considered part of the two counties -- are now sent to tribal court instead of a state court.

The governing Ute Business Committee agreed it will generally not exert civil authority -- such as zoning regulations -- over property that may be within the tribe's jurisdiction but is owned by non-Indians.

On Monday, Jenkins asked the attorneys if there was anything more to do.

"Nothing more than, after 25 years, to say goodbye," Thompson said.