Guam releases ARPA spending plan, NMI’s plan on the way
The government of Guam gave a Nov. 23 presentation of the Investment Para Hamyo plan for spending American Rescue Plan funds, along with other local and federal funds.
“We need to make smart choices of where to spend this money and how to combine it with other funding sources,” Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said.
“I think this plan is as appropriate and adequate as it can be,” she said. “But it’s also fluid. Life is fluid… things change and things happen. It allows the governors to be able to be flexible and prioritize as the needs come about.”
The ARP $570 million, combined with other funding totaling more than $3.5 billion, would create a comprehensive investment plan, which would extend spending through 2024, including, but not limited to:
- $20 million to help fund the 2021 Small Business Pandemic Assistance program
- $1.9 million for grants to the island’s farmers
- $1.8 million to small businesses in the form of rental assistance
- $3.4 million for free training programs like Guam Community College’s bootcamps
- $20 million for the Guam Visitors Bureau’s Reimaging Guam project
- $15 million to upgrade airport facilities
- $263 million for a new healthcare center in Mangilao, which would include a new Guam Memorial Hospital, a public health center, a public health laboratory and a behavioral health center
- $397 million for public and private educational institutions to open, have COVID testing, repair schools, for a new cultural heritage repository, improvements to educators’ wages and finishing Simon Sanchez High School
- $80 million to launch a childcare assistance program for families with children 13 and below
- $20 million for providers to stabilize daycare facilities
- $1.6 million for a new homeless shelter
- $63.5 million for emergency rental assistance
- $700,000 for a mortgage relief program
- $3.5 million to hire 75 new police officers
- $9 million for new communication system for the Guam Police Department
- $200,000 for an eastern police substation
- $3.5 million for a new evidence building for GPD
- $5.3 million for the Guam Fire Department
- $12 million for paved roads and improvement
- $203 million for the airport and $45 million for the port
- $6.6 million for island recreational facilities
- $1.5 million for a new foster care facility
- $1.5 million for abandoned vehicle cleanup, and
- $1.7 million to the Department of Agriculture for more conservation officers and new equipment
Leon Guerrero said the most important aspects of the plan are economic growth, job creation, training and apprenticeships, diversification of industry, infrastructure improvement, decrease in crime and an increase in life.
In a press briefing on Nov. 19, David DLG Atalig, director of the NMI Department of Finance for the NMI confirmed that a spending plan would be released. He said he is preparing to deliver a report to the NMI Legislature.
NMI Covid numbers soar
Ninety-eight new COVID cases were identified for Saipan on Nov. 22. More than 80 were identified through community-based testing, which brings a new 23% positive rate from the 375 tests that were run. There have been 282 COVID cases since Oct. 28.
“The numbers are large, and it is concerning for all of us,” said Esther L. Muna, CEO of the CHHC.
As of Nov. 23, there were still no COVID-related hospitalizations in the NMI.
“We are still looking at whether or not there are severe cases, and as of now, there are none,” said Muna.
Both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are now able to give booster shots to their respective populations aged 18 and older.
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. also announced Nov. 21 it will enforce COVID regulations at the Saipan hospital for visitors.
NAVFAC exceeds small business targets
Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Marianas confirmed to the Journal that it has exceeded small business goals for fiscal 2021.
Dante P. Serneo, contracting officer for the Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division Public Works Department at Naval Base Guam, said, “NAVFAC Marianas has exceeded our [Small Business fiscal 2021] goal of 67%.”
NAVFAC Marianas awarded a total of $283.8 million to small businesses, or 73.89% of the small business eligible awards.
Federal contract award categories include Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Women Owned Small Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses and those in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone. The U.S. Small Business Administration assigns small business performance goals to all government agencies every year.
NAVFAC Pacific awarded more than $1.87 billion in contracts to U.S. small businesses during fiscal 2021. This represents more than 45% of NAVFAC’s total $4.17 billion in small business awards, exceeding all socioeconomic goals, NAVFAC Pacific said in a Nov. 19 release.
Money for gas for job seekers on the way
In a Nov. 20 release, Leon Guerrero said the confirmation that “at least” $347,550 million will be allocated to build a new hospital (as part of a medical campus) in President Joseph R. Biden’s infrastructure bill, will allow for the allocation of fuel vouchers for those seeking jobs.
The Build Back Better Act has passed the House and now goes to the Senate in Congress. If changes are made to the legislation in the Senate, it will return to the House.
US admiral says Guam needs Aegis
Speaking at a Nov. 18 Center for Strategic & international Studies/U.S. Naval Institute event featuring Rear Adm. Thomas Druggan, program executive for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense at the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said “We really need HMD [hypersonic missile defense]” for Guam.” Druggan said one question that needs to be answered is whether it is worthwhile to have a “multi-mission ship [like an Aegis destroyer] tethered” to the island. This would be similar to what the Navy does in providing European defense, according to the U.S Navy Institute’s news.
Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea’s second-biggest carrier confirmed on its site it will resume flights to Guam on Dec. 23, after an absence in the market of 18 years. The flights will be twice weekly. Asiana will run a 188-seat A321. The airline will continue to fly to Saipan, where it began flying in July through the travel bubble agreement.
The Guam Visitors Bureau hosted a familiarization tour from Nov. 17 to Nov. 20 for the editorial team of TabiMUSE, a popular online travel platform from Japan that caters to female, Gen Z, and adventure travelers. GVB plans other FAM trips in 2022, it said and is undertaking other marketing efforts in the Japan market.
EIDL loan and Targeted Advance applications will be accepted until Dec. 31 and will continue to be processed after this date until funds are exhausted.
Supplemental Targeted Advance applications will be accepted until Dec. 31; however, the SBA may be unable to process some Supplemental Targeted Advance applications submitted near the Dec. 31 deadline due to legal requirements. The SBA cannot continue to process Supplemental Targeted Advance applications after Dec. 31 and strongly encourages eligible small businesses to apply by Dec. 10 to ensure adequate processing time.
Borrowers can request increases up to their maximum eligible loan amount for up to two years after their loan origination date, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever is soonest.
The SBA will accept and review reconsideration and appeal requests for COVID EIDL applications received on or before Dec. 31 if the reconsideration/appeal is received within the timeframes in the regulation. This means six months from the date of decline for reconsiderations and 30 days from the date of reconsideration decline for appeals – unless funding is no longer available.
The Port Authority of Guam will receive a $17.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration through the Rebuilding America Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity funding. The funding will upgrade wharves F1 through F6 to support ship-to-shore gantry crane operations, specifically addressing sheet piles and concrete cap spallings at the face of the port’s F2, F3, F4 and F6 wharves as well as the deteriorating structure of F1 Fuel Pier. The total cost is estimated at more than $22 million, according to a Nov. 21 release.
The University of Guam will start a $715,014 project that will use unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing and NASA technology to closely examine the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, which supplies 90% of the island’s drinking water, and produce critical data and tools for resource management, according to a Nov. 19 release
The three-part project will produce maps of coastal freshwater discharge, fine-tune variables needed to better estimate the aquifer’s water supply and look for relationships between that freshwater discharge and coral reef health.
The project will be funded by a grant awarded through a NASA EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement Notice. The UOG Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific and the Micronesian Area Research Center will co-lead the project with collaborators from local and federal agencies.
The Guam Community College Environmental Technician Certification Program will hold two free Occupational Safety and Health Administration training courses in February. The first is a 10-hour course on the General Industry on Feb. 7 and Feb 8. The second course is OSHA 521, Industrial Hygiene and is set for February 9 to Feb 11. Both courses may be taken for certification, according to GCC.
The courses are in collaboration with the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education, a national non-profit organization, and the Hazardous Materials & Emergency Services Training Institute at Barton Community College in Kansas and are funded by a grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Courses are open to participants from Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Face-to-face participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID and must provide proof of vaccination. To register for the free OSHA courses please contact John Jocson at [email protected]. For further information on course content, please contact Bill Nash at [email protected] or785-341-2552.
Green Bay Packers fans in Guam can now purchase common stock shares, according to a Nov. 17 announcement. The Green Bay Packers launched the organization’s sixth stock offering, with shares priced at $300. Money raised from the offering will go toward ongoing construction projects at Lambeau Field, including new video boards and concourse upgrades.
Shares can also now be purchased by anyone in Puerto Rice, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and the 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C., as well as Guam.
Atkins Kroll Inc. is unveiling the first ever Toyota Corolla Crossover today.
For your diary:
Save the date: The Guam Business Magazine Executive of the Year gala has been rescheduled to May 7, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Guam.
The 16th Annual Soroptimist International of the Marianas Christmas Brunch Gone Virtual will be holding an online auction. The auction will go live by Dec. 5 and winning bidders can pick up items on Dec. 12. Mailing may be an option for smaller items. All details will be listed on the auction site, which will be forthcoming. Also, a holiday gift box and a family platter are available from Three Squares Restaurant, and sponsorships are available. SIM is also soliciting silent auction and cash donations.
For more information contact one of the following: Kristal Koga 808-391-9507 [email protected] ; Erlinda Alegre 671-488-3635 [email protected] ; Diane Prejean 671-727-5467 [email protected]; or Angie Gibbons 671-688-1811 [email protected] mbj