Governor: ‘The mayors will get American Rescue Plan money’

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero assured on Wednesday that there will be American Rescue Fund money available for the mayors, the only question is what process will be used to distribute the funds to the mayors.

The governor was responding to a news conference on Tuesday held by Congressman Michael San Nicolas and Senator James Moylan who claim that Adelup is withholding ARP money designated for the mayors.

“The mayors will get ARP money. The only question is how and under what process do we give the money to the mayors so that it would be eligible and acceptable to the US Treasury. That’s one of the issues that I need to clarify,” Leon Guerrero said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

The governor said that through the interim Treasury guidelines, there is money given for the counties of states and territories. The problem is that Guam does not have counties. So the ARP money allocated for counties will go straight to GovGuam.

“That is around $33 million. But there is also ARP money allocated to groups that may not be called counties but they are referred to as non-entitlement units (NEUs) and that money is about $17 million,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor said mayors are not considered officials of counties and that villages are not counties but she is trying to have mayors and villages considered as NEUs.

“Counties are more organized government structures, they make laws, and they enforce laws and so forth. Villages and village mayors don’t do that. Now, we are trying to get it (the money) through the non-entitlement units. So what is being asked of Treasury is if the Mayors Council of Guam is considered a non-entitlement unit. That’s what we’re waiting for from the US Treasury, and we have been given extensions in terms of meeting the deadline to push this money out because they have been working to let us know if it is confirmed, or not. So that’s what we’re waiting for,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor said she expected Congressman San Nicolas and Senator Moylan to have this information.

“It’s in the interim guidelines, it’s there. And so again, this is another situation where you have little information and you blow it out to get people upset rather than doing your research and understanding it and trying to make other officials understand it so that people don’t get upset,” Leon Guerrero said.

She added that this information was also shared with Mayors Council of Guam executive director Angel Sablan through meetings with BBMR head Lester Carlson.

The governor said she will brief the mayors on this matter when she holds her quarterly meeting with the mayors on Thursday.