DPW seeks $20.6 million budget

The Department of Public Works is requesting a budget of $20.6 million, which is an increase of about $781,000 from last fiscal year's budget.

The Department of Public Works presented its FY2020 budget to lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, requesting a budget of $20.6 million, which is an increase of about $781,000 from last fiscal year’s budget.

According to DPW Director Vincent Arriola, this request for $20.6 million will fund 278 full-time employees, including 42 funded vacancies, and also takes into account salary increments, which were not included last fiscal year.

Arriola explained that salaries are DPW’s largest cost category, which is about 70 percent of overall operational costs.

Arriola said there is always a need to hire more personnel such as bus drivers, highway workers, mechanics, and building maintenance personnel.

As of today, out of the 42 funded vacancies, Arriola said DPW has filled 14 positions and have 23 positions in the recruitment process.

Other costs include contractual, fuel, utilities and capital improvement. The overall breakdown, by division, shows that the biggest chunks go to bus operations, which gets $7.7 million, and highway and village road repairs, which total $7.2 million.

“With regards to operational needs, DPW’s FY2020 budget is essentially a status quo level which is sufficient to meet current operations based on our department’s mandates for this fiscal year. Most of DPW’s operational costs are personnel costs including overtime costs for emergency responders, transportation and highway maintenance workers, as well as heavy equipment mechanics,” Arriola said.

The two local funding sources for DPW include the Guam Highway Fund and the Territorial Educational Facilities Fund but Arriola said his team will be taking a look at other funding sources such as federal grants.

At the end of the hearing, San Agustin asked Arriola to re-evaluate their current budget request and include a supplemental budget request that will cover other much-needed repairs to roadways.