Mayors to get $17M in direct ARP funding; millions more in indirect funding

The members of the Mayors Council of Guam have money allotted to them from the American Rescue Plan. (PNC file photo)

The island’s mayors are going to get $17 million in American Rescue Plan money.

This was announced by Mayors Council executive director Angel Sablan during the council’s meeting Tuesday morning.

“I want to let you know that, as far as a couple of days ago, when we had the tree-lighting ceremony at Skinner Plaza, the Acting Governor assured me that he’s just waiting for DOA director Ed Birn and BBMR director Lester Carlson to return. And then they will make an announcement about the amount of money that’s available for the Mayors Council,” Sablan said.

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According to Sablan, the administration plans to allow the mayors to pull $17 million over the six-year period that the funding is available.

Sablan said the $32 million that Congressman Michael San Nicolas was talking about is available to counties. “But since there are no counties on Guam, the governor has already stated that she’s allotting that money and giving it out to the villages, but not directly to the MCOG,” he said.

Sablan said the money will be allotted to repair roads, help the health centers, fund streetlights, after-school programs, and the like.

“So that portion of the funding will still benefit the residents. For the $17 million, we already submitted our needs, at least for half of that amount, to the governor’s office a while back. The only holdup right now is the classification of the non-entitlement unit and we are the closest entity on Guam that meets that definition,” he said.

For MCOG President Jesse Alig, the bottom line is that they need a breakdown of what money is coming to the mayors, when it’s coming, and when the mayors can actually begin to use it.

“Admittedly, there has been some frustration over this because we’ve been waiting for the money. In fiscal year 2021, we were short and our budget was cut just like everyone else’s. But we still weren’t mad and we were able to manage to complete a full year using some lapses from the previous fiscal years. But we didn’t cover what we lost and we were hoping that when we started fiscal year 2022, that we would have some kind of relief. But we still have not,” Alig said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

Throughout the year, Alig said the mayors have been submitting lists of wishes ranging from heavy equipment and service vehicles to facility repair and maintenance.

“We’ve submitted all of that. And what the administration has done is that they’ve taken all of that. And what we’re asking Chief of Staff Jon Junior Calvo or the governor is to send us a breakdown on how and where we can spend this money. So that’s kind of what we’re doing now and hopefully by next week, we’ll be able to share that with the rest of the council and the public,” Alig said.