Spending plan for federal COVID-19 relief funds to be released

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BBMR director Lester Carlson told K-57's Patti Arroyo Monday morning that the draft budget is done and it was reviewed by the Governor today. (PNC file photo by Kent Pueblo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero met with Democratic lawmakers over the weekend ahead of today’s emergency session.

During that meeting, Speaker Tina Muña Barnes brought up her concerns about accountability and transparency.

She and other lawmakers have been waiting for the administration to explain what the millions of dollars in federal relief funds will be spent on.

BBMR director Lester Carlson told K57’s Patti Arroyo Monday morning that the draft budget is done and that the Governor is reviewing the budget.

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“A budget is a methodical process. My staff went out last week and reached out to every agency and asked them what COVID related expenditures have you incurred to date. COVID related. Look at the guidelines. Submit you’re expenditures to date and your projections for what you need moving forward,” Carlson said.

Carlson also explained that the funds can NOT be used to pay GovGuam salaries that have already been budgeted. But the money can be used to cover hazardous duty pay associated with fighting the pandemic.

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“It allows for payroll expenses associated with public safety and public health personnel that are directly on the front lines for COVID so,” Carlson said.

He added: “It basically says no bonus pays, no merit pays with the exception of hazard pay.”

The Governor’s office says that the plan for spending the federal relief funds will be released Tuesday.

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