Legislature seeks clarity on Adelup’s American Rescue Plan priorities

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Guam Legislature seal (PNC file photo)

The Legislature has asked Adelup to provide a clearer picture of what funds remain uncommitted under the $664 million American Rescue Plan that the government of Guam is set to receive from the federal government.

In a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero jointly signed by Speaker Therese Terlaje and Minority Leader Chris Duenas, the Legislature asked the governor for a more detailed spending plan for federal funds coming from the American Rescue Plan.

“We have heard the administration publicly announce that $300 million of the American Rescue Plan funds will be set aside for the construction of a new hospital. We have heard publicly that Guam Visitors Bureau will receive $20 million for GVB operations and an additional $18 million for renovations at Matapang Beach. We also heard that shortfalls of the Judiciary and other government agencies will be covered by these funds,” the letter stated.

According to the senators, the Legislature has been consistent and vocal regarding its desire to work with the administration to ensure that these funds provide relief to residents, aid in economic recovery, and address the long-standing infrastructure needs of the island.

In order to prepare a potential spending plan with priorities for the $664 million in federal funds, the Legislature is requesting a clearer idea of what portion of funds has been promised or committed to particular projects or agencies.

Based on the March 2021 CRER and Special Funds tracking reports, the senators warned that there is an estimated shortfall in general revenues of $9.6  million and $14.7 million in special funds for FY 2021.

“It was also reported that the Mayors Council was promised $800,000 for shortfalls for annual paid leave from the previous term and that possibly $14 million would be used to offset GWA increases in water rates. We have also seen requests from GEDA for $37.8 million for various programs. Before the Legislature sends a listing of priorities, we respectfully ask for a true account of how much of the $664 million is available and uncommitted. We are wary of having any listing of priorities from the Legislature be pitted against agencies or projects that have already been promised funds from the administration,” the letter stated.

The senators are also inquiring if the administration plans on adjusting the current budget of FY 2021 or updating revenue estimates in the executive budget request for FY 2022 based on current reopening plans and economic recovery trends.

“As you know the FY 2021 Executive Budget request was approximately $30 million less than the adopted FY 2021 budget. The Legislature needs all of this information to firm our response and priority spending plan for the American Rescue Plan,” the letter stated.

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