Guam To Benefit From $9.7 Million In Compact Funds
By Louella Losinio
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 4, 2013) – Around $9.7 million worth of 2013 Compact Impact funds will support the budget of several Guam agencies this fiscal year after the U.S. Department of Interior approved the utilization of the funds.
Last August, Gov. Eddie Calvo requested the use of these Compact Impact funds, which was approved by DOI Director of Insular Affairs Nikolao Pula last week.
Around $6 million, or 62 percent of the total amount, will be used to provide financial assistance to Guam Memorial Hospital for payment of medical-related outstanding debt.
Around $200,000 will be allocated for the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities to support an individualized budget program for 100 consumers with disabilities.
Funding of $200,000 will be used by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans to create a "one-stop" data clearinghouse, while an additional $100,000 will be used to improve web-based search and document retrieval.
Moreover, the Guam Police Department will be receiving $2.52 million for its public safety communications system and $350,000 to purchase new police cars.
According to the Governor’s Office, the total annual funding is just a portion of the federal government’s yearly obligation. Calvo said the requests made for fiscal year 2013 Compact Impact funds reflect the priorities the government had for this fiscal year to cover the needs of the community.
Meanwhile, the governor has submitted his FY2014 budget to the Legislature, noting agencies will not receive enough funding to meet their mandates or service levels, but also emphasizing that a large chunk has been appropriated for priorities such as education, health and medical care, as well as public safety agencies.
For the budget request, a General Fund revenue level of $702.4 million has been projected, indicating a 1.9 percent increase over the current fiscal year’s amount.
The increase, according to the Governor’s Office, is based "on conservative estimates of organic growth and a trend of the past three years of actual collections."
Of the total amount, $113 million will be allocated for tax refunds, $11.5 million appropriated to pay down the deficit, and $43.4 million put aside for debt service.
The remaining $534.6 million is appropriated for operations.
In the current budget request, agencies in all three vital sectors are getting increases, with the Guam Police Department getting a $1.2 million increase and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse receiving a boost of about $1.3 million in their budget.
"This is a balanced budget, based on conservative revenue projections, the payment of tax refunds on time, and the reduction of the deficit," Calvo said in a statement released to the media.
The FY2014 budget does not include funding for salary increments, with the Governor’s Office rationalizing that the "government cannot afford to implement these pay adjustments while outstanding debt to employees and vendors remain in the deficit."
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