As court ordered, lawmakers appropriate $19M for solid waste operations

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Lawmakers began session today with discussions on bill 209 which amends the Guam Solid Waste Authorities budget to $19 million.

Guam – The bill’s author Senator Tom Ada explained the Governor originally only asked for $7 million for solid waste. This amount was based on the budgets for solid waste when it was under GovGuam’s control. The $19 million-dollar figure is the amount that GSWA has been spending under federal receivership.  Vice-Speaker Therese Terlaje said she had some reservations about the bill at first.

“I am going to agree at this point because it looks like we have no choice either. The court is ordering that we adopt a budget that reflects what the receiver’s budget was,” said Terlaje.

Senator Mary Torres spoke in favor of the bill but also about her concerns that the Solid Waste Authority might increase trash rates or tipping fees.

“I think what we have to recognize though is that inevitably we are going to see a rate increase. We know that if there is any way that we can relieve Section 30 monies maybe restructure the pledge of those funds to the bond repayment. That it is gonna come out of our pocket books and you know that is something that we just have to almost be resigned to. But with all measures that require progress there’s always a cost to bear and it unfortunately comes down to the general public,” said Senator Torres.

The bill was passed with 14 votes and one excused absence for Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. who is off-island.