The tour follows the passing of the budget bill on Monday, which did not include the funding for the renovation. In light of these events, Speaker Judi Won Pat introduces Bill 393, which identifies several funding options for the $4 million needed for the project.
The Speaker explains, “One is that it can borrow from local institutions through a line of credit, they could go out and decide to do a Municipal Lease which we’ve done with some schools already and the other alternative is to go through USDA where they’ll be able to get Federal programs, grants or loans and that will be at a lower interest rate.”
Speaker Won Pat said the loan would be repaid in about 10 years with unpledged business privilege taxes. Since the estimated total cost of the renovation, new equipment, and training is $5 million, the Speaker also made an amendment last month to Public Law 179, which appropriated nearly $900-thousand for the project.
During this morning’s tour, when asked if he supported the Speaker’s bill, Governor Calvo says he will try his best to get the gears going on the project as soon as possible. He said, “The process has started by a very quick introduction of a bill. With that introduction of the bill, I am going to get my fiscal team together to see what ways we can expedite the acquisition of those resources. We’re going to look at certain areas such as which is viable financially and what is that path that can move the process as quickly as possible.”
On Monday, when the Legislature was called to session, a line of about 50 expectant mothers filled the Hagatna building as Dr. Shieh offered free ultrasounds to bring more attention to the cause. He said with the many pregnant women on island, he will continue this service next week at Vice Speaker BJ Cruz’s office and the following at Adelup.