Moylan: $32 million in ARP money should have gone to mayors and the villages

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

Senator James Moylan, in a news conference Tuesday afternoon, said there’s $32 million in American Rescue Plan money that should have gone to the mayors and their villages and yet weren’t given out by Adelup.

Moylan said the ARP’s state, and local recovery funds provide funding to units of local governments, which correlates to what we know on Guam as villages.

Congressman Michael San Nicolas, who was also present during the news conference along with Piti mayor Jesse Alig, said the American Rescue Plan intended specifically under its municipal component that $32 million should actually be going directly to the island’s villages, based on population, for the villages to expand services in their local communities.

“And so when you take the $32.6 million for Guam, that actually comes out to $181 per resident,” San Nicolas said.

Mayor Alig, who is also the Mayors Council of Guam President, said this is the first time he has known about this funding allocation and that he and the other mayors haven’t gotten any money from Adelup.

According to Moylan, the mayors and their villages should be deciding how that money is spent for the benefit of their villages.

“Well, you said it. Where is the money? We don’t know the total and we certainly have not received any money. And I think that’s our question … that’s my question on behalf of the Mayors Council of Guam. Where is the money? Because we don’t have it. And $32 million is certainly a nice sum of money, for sure,” Alig said.

Moylan said the governor’s office has not communicated in any way officially to the Mayors Council that there is American Rescue Plan funding available in the state and local allotment that they received.

“The other territories were clear, American Samoa and even the CNMI were clear in requesting that these monies be made available to their local government directly from the American Rescue Plan to specifically help their villages and their municipalities,” Moylan said.

For instance, the CNMI has three municipalities — Rota, Saipan, and Tinian. Moylan said each will be receiving funding from the ARP, which is separate from what the CNMI government will be receiving. There’s also the US Virgin Islands and they also have three separate municipalities getting funding.

San Nicolas said the fundings for those counties are going to be released by the state or territory to those counties, but the determination and the use of these fundings is not to be determined by the governor, but by local leaders.

“We have 19 villages here and I’m just kind of ….  I’m not clear on why we did not participate in getting that. And all these times we had the questions and answers going to the Treasury Department on guidance on how we can use this money. Did they not understand that there was money specifically for our villages or was this a topic not wanting to be asked and not wanting to be shared,” Moylan said.

Mayor Alig said he is planning to meet with the governor this week to try to resolve the issue.