Bill introduced to amend CLTC commercial lease law

Sen. Joe S. San Agustin (file photo)

Senator Joe S. San Agustin has introduced Bill 425-35(COR) relative to amending the law that mandates competitive bids for commercial leases of Chamorro Land Trust lands.

Bill 425-35(COR) will amend the section of Public Law 33-95 that mandated the competitive bid process for the leasing of commercial property. The bill maintains all other requirements for lease licensure passed in the public law, and provides the CLTC Operations Fund with additional resources from the deposit of license fees.

The bill ensures that the Chamorro Land Trust Commission may fully exercise their duties in negotiating leases and approving licenses for public properties. The law prohibited the CLTC from negotiating with applicants as the law required a competitive bid process. This amendment will still open opportunities for businesses to submit their best proposals in seeking leases and give the CLTC the authority to negotiate and execute a license.

“Weeks ago, our office was approached about the process for lease licensure regarding commercial properties under the Chamorro Land Trust. After conducting research and discussion with various stakeholders, I found that our economic engine was hindered in the requirement to put a lease from the CLTC for commercial use out for a competitive bid process. This is counterproductive in supporting economic activity,” stated Sen. San Agustin.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Senator Jose ‘Pedo’ Terlaje.

“If a company seeks to lease property to increase their ability to provide services to the island, we must carefully look at what our laws require. In this instance, a business is seeking a license to lease property in compliance with law, and the CLTC has determined it is not able to negotiate a lease because it must put up the property for competitive bid,” San Agustin said in a news release.

He added: “If there is only one company seeking a license to lease property and are able to invest their resources, we need to take a look at how laws may be detrimental to our recovery especially in these tough, economic times. On the other side, if numerous companies wish to apply for the same property, they must still submit their application and the negotiation process will begin, with the CLTC ensuring the best outcomes for the government and fully exercising their duties as a commission.”