Guam – Guam Power Authority General Manager Joaquin Flores and Senator Ben Pangelinan crossed swords today [Tuesday] over the Senator’s proposal to place a property currently controlled by GovGuam under the control of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission.
The issue boils down to whether all GPA rate payers should help support the CLTC for the benefit of trust beneficiaries, or whether all GPA rate payers should benefit from the cost savings by not having to pay a lease fee on GovGuam land.
The property in question is about 15 acres in Mangilao both GPA and GWA plan on building a joint headquarters on GovGuam land, rent fee. The 18th Guam Legislature in what is now Public Law 22-18 reserved the land for that purpose.
But now Senator Pangelinan’s Bill # 11 proposes to transfer the property from GovGuam to the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, which would charge a lease fee for the use of that land to benefit the members of the trust.
Right now, GPA pays about $46-thousand dollars a month to Payless for rent at the Harmon facility it now occupies.
GPA General Manager Joaquin Flores strongly opposed the measure saying “This bill, with its introduction of rental payments to the CLTC, will be the cause for a rate increase to cover the land lease payments. Ironically, this bill conflicts with Speaker Won Pat’s pledge as stated in her most recent weekly address to invest in capital infrastructure to reduce the Government’s reliance on rentals.”
“Unfortunately this bill reverses years of work,” said Flores, “and the original policy to allow un-used government land to benefit all the people of Guam at no cost. This bill hurts all rate payers of Guam at a time they need as much assistance as possible.”
But Senator Pangelinan challenged Flores arguing that “the Chamorro Land Trust has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize its properties to assist in the development of the services and the benefits for the trust itself.”
“But if we had lower costs,” Flores responded, “additional revenues can go to other things. Say a 5% rate increase in the future, by us cutting our costs, could be a 2% increase in the future. You are adding expenses unnecessarily that we could avoid.”