Solid Waste Federal Receivers Gershman Brickner and Bratton say GovGuam is under the mistaken assumption that they won’t have to build new cells at Layon for another 8 to 15 years.
Guam – Gershman, Brickner and Bratton, the solid waste federal receiver for Guam, is urging the federal court to use their version of the post-closure financing plan for closure of Ordot Dump and maintenance of Layon Landfill.
GBB warns that using GovGuam’s version could put everything they’ve worked for at great risk.
The Government of Guam and GBB are both fighting to gain control over the continued management of the island’s solid waste system. And both have come up with their own separate financing plans.
In the latest round of bickering, GBB is warning that GovGuam’s version could have negative consequences as it does not prioritize the requirements of the consent decree. GBB believes it to be more about “helping manage financial problems in other parts of the Government than addressing the needs of solid waste.”
GBB Principal Associate David Manning writes in his latest report that GovGuam seems to base their financing plan on trust—something he says Guam clearly lacks based on its history of mismanagement. Manning drew up a comparison of the two differing plans. GovGuam’s plan, he says, will be based on market conditions while GBB’s will not. GovGuam’s version will not fully fund post-closure care of Ordot Dump; GBB’s plan will. Perhaps the bigger issue for residents is that GovGuam’s plan will require a rate increase and additional borrowing while GBB’s financing plan will not, Manning says.
But it’s not just an issue of trust, as Manning points out. He says GovGuam seems to criticize the District Court’s rejection of their original financing plan as the court did not base it on any financial or mathematical facts but rather on the presumption that the government simply could not be trusted.
“The foregoing statement is without any basis in fact,” Manning writes. “The court had no viable Government of Guam Financing Plan before it to reject. The plan, to which the Government of Guam refers, was based on an illusory debt it claimed was owed to it by the Receiver. No such debt ever existed.”
GovGuam’s original plan was rejected because, Manning argues, it was “unrealistic, unworkable and otherwise wrong.”
In addition, Manning makes some critical observations of GovGuam’s handling of other aspects of its government, saying “the precarious position of the Government of Guam’s finances significantly increases the likelihood that it will continue to selectively honor its financial commitments. The Government of Guam is perpetually short of cash, causing it to transfer cash from one government entity to another to meet its short term obligations; its debt per capita debt is higher than any U.S. State or territory with the exception of Puerto Rico.”
One example GBB says GovGuam can’t be relied upon when it comes to handing back over control of the island’s solid waste management is in its long term plans for Layon—a relatively new landfill which was just opened in 2011.
Manning points out that GovGuam is under the mistaken assumption that the need for a new cell at the landfill will not happen for another 8 to 15 years. This is evidence of a “serious lack of understanding by the Government of Guam and the GSWA Board of the realities of managing the solid waste system.”
Manning says GovGuam believes it has at least until 2024 to open a new cell at Layon when in fact, he asserts that the capacity of cells at Layon will be exhausted in early 2021, which is in five years.
“The Government of Guam would be inviting another environmental disaster to actually base its planning and construction on the erroneous assumption that cells 1 and 2 at the Layon Landfill have 8-15 years of remaining capacity.”
You can read Manning’s report by clicking on the file below.