Guam – The Department of Customs and Quarantine is proposing an increase in it’s passenger fees. The agency met with lawmakers today to explain the need for their proposed fee increase.
The Department is seeking approval from the Legislature to raise their passenger fees from $6.36 per passenger to $8.29 per passenger. The agency says it has been averaging budget shortfalls of $3 to $4 million dollars over the last five years.
Customs and Quarantine assistant chief of logistics Major Paul Toves says this has resulted in less officers on the inspection lines in the face of increased needs. Major Toves says this has resulted in longer lines at customs, an 84 percent decline in drug seizures, a 50 percent decline in contraband seizures, and a 40 percent decline in agricultural seizures.
Customs is also facing a growing number of invasive species with the arrival of things like the coconut rhinoceros beetle, black widow spiders, and fire ants. Major Toves says that the general fund can no longer properly fund the agency and the agency has cut as much as it can.
“Already we’ve cut our costs as much as possible by trimming fat, trimming meat, and even chipping bone, any further cuts is like cutting limbs,” said Major Toves.
If approved Customs hopes to implement the new passenger fee by August 1st.