More MilCon awards
Garcia and Associates of San Anselmo, Calif., International Archaeology LLC of Honolulu, and Pacific Consulting Services Inc. Honolulu, were jointly awarded May 20 (CHamoru Standard Time) a $49 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for “cultural resource management services located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific” area of operations. No task orders were issued, according to a U.S. Department of Defense release. Work will be performed primarily in Guam, 70%; the Northern Mariana Islands, 5%; and Hawaii, 25% and the contract has an expected completion date of May 2026.
“Future task orders will be primarily funded by operation and maintenance (Navy) military construction, Navy, and government of Japan direct cash contributions [or Mamizu funding],” according to the release, which said five proposals were received.
A bunch of good news from the NMI:
As of May 17, fully vaccinated individuals may now avoid quarantine in the Northern Mariana Islands, providing they contact the Commonwealth Health Corp before arrival so that their vaccination status can be verified. “We accept Guam’s vaccination records,” Esther L. Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. confirmed at a May 21 news briefing.
Individuals will be tested on arrival with a rapid test, and upon a negative result, will be free to go (See Chart). “The key here is registration,” Muna told the Journal. Applicants should apply “at least 72 hours prior to arrival.”
NMI vaccinated residents have had the same option in Guam since May 15.
She said 57% of eligible NMI adults have received full vaccination.
In other news from the NMI, on May 20, a groundbreaking was held for the repaving of Airport Road, also known as Rte. 31, which Hawaiian Rock Products was awarded. According to Journal files, the project is part of $35 million in federal highway funding.
Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said work on routes 35 and 36 should see a groundbreaking in the first or second week of June and told the Journal Beach Road work will break ground “hopefully in July.” That work will proceed in two phases, from the Mobil gas station in Garapan to Atkins Kroll in San Jose, and then from there to the fire station, Torres said.
Torres also thanked the NMI legislature for passing in March House Bill 22-21, which confirmed the re-naming of the Commonwealth Development Agency to the Commonwealth Economic Development Agency, which received support from the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. The agency, he said will work with the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors to ensure that the NMI is business friendly. By example, Torres said the NMI will ensure that permits for projects are taken care of in advance, so that when a contractor reviews a Request for Proposal, the organization can say to itself, “We got the permits already.” That would apply in Saipan, Rota and Tinian, he said.
Torres has previously said that the NMI needs to smooth the path for contractors and investors, to include those interested in work on $254 million in construction through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery action plan. The NMI Housing Corp, which oversees the block grant funding, was also able to pre-approve contractors, according to Journal files.
The NMI announced it received $481,876,521 in Section 602 American Recovery Plan Act funding on May 17. David DLG Atalig was already in Rota on May 21 to discuss use of funding, which includes municipal as well as state funding. In addition, Atalig said, “We will be meeting with the legislature to share what our priorities are.”
SBA on the RRF
The U.S. Small Business Administration reminded May 19 that eligible eating establishments have until Monday, May 24, 8 p.m. ET, to submit applications to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
As of May 21, the SBA had not confirmed if applicants in Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands have received RRF funding, and if so, how many and any total amounts. The SBA did say on May 14 that “$2.7 billion of relief funds have been distributed to 21,000 restaurants since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund opened on May 3.”
DoD and COVID
The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff issued (in Washington D.C.) a May 20 memorandum on ways to encourage members of the military to get vaccinated against COVID. These are “accessibility, education, personnel policy and engagement at the lowest level.
“As of early May 2021, the department as a whole has suffered more than 285,000 cases and we have lost nearly 350 of our teammates,” the memorandum said.
The U. S. military is not yet requiring personnel to get vaccinated against COVID, though it has done so as a matter of course with vaccinations against other viral diseases prevalent in certain locations.
On April 19, the memorandum said “the Department made it possible for all eligible beneficiaries to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Leaders should make vaccination as easy and convenient as possible for service members and where appropriate for family members.”
Family members in Guam have taken advantage of vaccinations at the University of Guam’s vaccination center.
Military vaccination numbers in Guam are now included along with those of residents in the Government of Guam’s count on its way to reach “herd immunity” of 80% on or before July 21.
Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam advised personnel May 16 and May 19 respectively that masks need not be worn indoors or outdoors on the island’s bases by fully vaccinated personnel and “patrons,” but that personnel should adhere to Guam guidance when outside in the community, which states that masks should still be worn except under certain conditions, i.e. when [actively] eating at a restaurant.
The May 19 release also said Naval Base Guam, in conjunction with Naval Hospital Guam, will host COVID vaccination clinics at the Chapel on May 27 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with hours extended depending on demand and at the Navy Exchange Food Court and Outdoor Dining area on May 29 from 8 a.m. to noon. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available.
GEDA announces new grant program; awardees
The Guam Economic Development authority announced the Guam Small Business Pandemic Assistance grant program on May 20 at a board of directors meeting. The new program, which will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act funding, will award up to $50,000 to eligible businesses.
To be eligible, Melanie R. Mendiola, CEO and administrator at GEDA; said, “For this one, we’re looking at an entire year of interruption, so a [minimum of] 15% business interruption between 2019 and 2020. … Since we have run a couple grant programs, we do know where we can get better and improve this time around.” Eligibility is also based on business type, gross receipts, Small Business Administration size standards, a Guam business license and taxes.
Also, applicants will be informed that no less than 30% of an award will be prioritized to current and future rent payments, if applicable.
The proposed budget for this grant program is $30 million.
Under GEDA’s three previous COVID-19 economic grant programs, all funded by the CARES Act, GEDA handed out more than $21 million in awards.
In other GEDA news, GEDA awarded a fourth cycle of 15 qualifying certificate (funded) community contribution program grants out of 35 applications. Aside from mayor’s offices and the Guam Fire Department, grants were awarded to PBS Guam, $25,000; Farm to Table Corp., $15, 586.56; the Guam Amateur Baseball Association, $17,706.60; Junior Achievement Guam Inc., $22,000; Sanctuary Inc. of Guam, $10,000; Pacific War Museum Foundation, $25,000; Guam Football Association, $11, 206.; Micronesian Training and Development Institute, $14,850; and others for a total of $295,000.016.
At the Guam Legislature:
Sen. James Moylan hosted May 20 a virtual “informal discussion” on six legislative initiatives – co-sponsored by Sen. Tony Ada. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s Delegate to Congress; assessed during the virtual meeting about how each of these could relate to funding from the American Recovery Plan Act.
The six initiatives are the Displaced Employee Workforce Act, which “creates fulltime private sector jobs for displaced individuals, through a grant program;” the Business Startup Incubation Act of 2021, to help new small businesses, with awards from $5,000 to $25,000; the Para Publiku Act of 2021, which creates a $500 debit card program to be spent at participating local establishments; the Guam Home Energy Assistance Act of 2021, a “grant program to help qualified families attain support for energy costs and utility payments;” the Atkilon Guma’ Assistance Program of 2021, a “grant program to help qualified families with home rental assistance, and an amendment to Public Law 35-136, also known as the RISE Act, which would increase payments from $800 to $1,000.
No public hearing is scheduled for any of the initiatives, which have a total estimated cost of $100 million, though the focus might be on one or two, Moylan said.
As to discussing initiatives with any offices such as the Guam Economic Development Authority, Moylan told the Journal, “Our measures are meant for a public hearing.” No legislation would be introduced that can’t be fulfilled, he said.
San Nicolas said that in “trying to get the biggest outcome, the biggest bang for the buck, the more overlap there is, the more we can qualify for that.” ARP Act funding will be transmitted to the Government of Guam. San Nicolas said, “At the end of the day we understand that it’s up to Adelup to spend the money.”
The Office of the Governor confirmed to the Journal that while the Northern Marianas has received funding, as of May 20, Guam has not.
However, a release announced Guam’s receipt of $553 million on May 21.
As to his previous assessment that ARPA cannot be used to fund construction of a new hospital, San Nicolas said the Government of Guam should “go out to the market” for funding. The federal government is not in the business of funding construction of hospitals, he told the Journal. He would continue to look for federal opportunities, he said.
As regards unemployment insurance in Guam, “I can also make an argument out here that it would help with making PUA avoidable in the future,” However, San Nicolas said he would not initiate a discussion “if it’s not going anywhere with local government.”
The University of Guam announced May 19 that Gener Deliquina will be its graduation speaker,
The Guam Power Authority announced that disconnections on past due accounts with GPA and the Guam Waterworks Authority for residential, post-paid and commercial accounts will resume June 1. GPA held a series of village meetings to discuss disconnections and payment plans. Customers may view information at guampowerauthority.com, on GPA’s Facebook page and GPA Instagram. Some customers may be eligible for federal assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance program. Visit www.doa.guam.gov for more information.
DPHSS announced May 21 that the SNAP Supplemental Emergency Allotment for May will be released the same date. Benefits will be electronically loaded into the SNAP recipients’ EBT cards. Beginning in May and until further notice, the SNAP supplemental EA will be implemented under the new policy from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Under the policy, SNAP households who were not receiving EA payments and those whose EA payments were less than $95per month will receive a minimum of $95. For households who were receiving EA benefits of $95 or more per month, EA payments will not change. mbj