Guam military housing contract to change hands Aug. 1
A joint venture of Core Tech International and Galaide Professional Services Inc. will take over management of the Guam Housing Operations and Maintenance Services and Change of Occupancy Maintenance Services contract from Aug. 1, according to Journal sources.
Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command Marianas pulled the $113 million-plus contract from Defense Base Services Inc. for poor performance some months ago, according to Journal files. See “Bye-bye: NAVFAC yanks housing maintenance contract,” in the April 4 issue of the Journal.
In related news, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress said July 7 he anticipates more than $1.5 billion for Guam in fiscal 2023 in the National Defense Authorization Act, “which includes more funding for missile defense and the highest level of funding for military buildup projects on record.”
San Nicolas said he is working to identify public access roads on Guam for more road investment, a behavioral health study to get more doctors for servicemembers, veterans and others, an extension of H-2B quotas to meet military and local project and housing needs, and access to base amenities for Homeland Security personnel and and federal firefighters, he said.
Financial assistance for power:
Residents of the Northern Mariana Islands will receive a $150 credit for July to “all active residential accounts” with the Commonwealth Utility Corp. In a June 30 release, the CUC said it was re-allocating funds for the credits.
“In the meantime, the governor and the secretary of finance continue to look into additional stimulus funding to give some relief to the residential community for the upcoming months,” the release said.
CUC said its base rate has not changed since 2014. The Fuel Adjustment Charge “billed to the customer is even less than the actual cost that CUC pays its fuel supplier,” the corporation said.
Residential ratepayers in Guam have yet to receive confirmation of credits.
“Working with Senator Joe San Agustin and the Committee on Appropriations, we are proposing that every residential ratepayer on Guam receive a monthly credit of $100 to immediately offset the cost of power for each of the next five months, Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said in her State of the Island Address on June 22. “Send me a bill authorizing this credit – and I will sign it,” she said.
San Agustin’s office told the Journal it was securing the information that it needs to prepare the bill, according to Michaella Celorio, research policy analyst.
“We’re working with multiple offices,” she said. What the senator’s office was lacking was the number of residential ratepayers – accountholders that would receive the rebate to determine the amount of funding required
Wfter the Journal’s enquiry on July 5 as to progress, the bill suddenly appeared in a release the next day from San Agustin’s office, but with a rounded amount.
Bill 325-36 – the Prugraman Ayuda Para I Taotao-Ta Energy Credit program appropriates $25,312,000.
Commercial ratepayers in Guam might also be able to get the monthly credit, Celorio told the Journal on July 5. “We’re not ruling it out.” That would depend on the number of residential ratepayers and the total funding that would require, she said.
However, no mention of that was made in the bill. San Agustin said the funding will come from excess revenue of “almost $85 million” above the fiscal 2022 GovGuam budget, as reported in May. The bill will also increase the revenues for the general fund (business privilege tax) and the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority pharmaceutical fund by $25,312,000 – the same amount.
Celorio said the credits will be shown on power bills and will begin with the power bill after the bill passes. The bill specifically mentions July onward, but a public hearing will also need to be held for it to pass.
Looking for meaningful and rewarding work?
Individuals who are interested in being considered for editor and reporter level positions at Glimpses Media should contact (671) 649-0883 to find out more about opportunities, our great work environment and your benefits package.
Glimpses Media publishes the Marianas Business Journal and Guam Business Magazine, among other publications.
The Camacho Ada “Seven Pillars of Influence and Opportunity” was first introduced on July 7 at Tumon Sands Plaza by young people taking their first career steps are Business, Education, Family, Government, Faith, Justice and Health.
The specifics of the business policy that former Gov. Felix P. Camacho and Sen. V. Anthony Ada shared includes immediately convening a Council of Economic Advisors consisting of … “key decision makers from major business industries as well as academia, government, social, federal and economic experts” to work jointly with government agencies in “tourism, economic development and commerce, regulatory and financial services.”
On tourism, the team plan calls for a back to basics and aggressive marketing of Guam as a safe, clean, friendly and exciting visitor destination. “With this new endeavor in step with the foundation of our traditional approach to tourism, the Camacho Ada goal is to achieve 100,000 visitors on average per month, or 12 million visitors by 2024.”
With regard to new industries, the team will focus on bringing in companies in the transshipment, telecom and warehousing industries “who are attracted by Guam’s proximity to Asia.”
The platform also includes references to a reduction of dependency on fossil fuels and a move to emerging technologies such as hybrid or electric vehicles, developing a reliable and efficient public transit system, elevating veteran issues to the Office of the Lt. Governor, seeking selective exemptions and/or temporary waivers of the Jones Act.
The specific issue of reduction of Business Privilege Tax from 5% to 4% is part of the platform. Camacho told the Journal, “I intend to work with the business community, and we hear their cry that there’s a need to roll back the BPT and so we have to take a very serious look at that initially – in the first 100 days.”
The former governor also told the Journal, “We’re going to have to do a forensic review of the finances of the Government of Guam, especially as it’s been so skewed by the ARP and through Executive Order.
“The government has not had to go through the typical procurement process – and where the monies have been spent, and what is left. Who knows where we’ll be come January?” His administration would have to take a realistic look at finances, he said.
Camacho confirmed that he will be fundraising, without any support from the national Republican party.
The Camacho Ada position on abortion as earlier released appears again under Faith and the Dignity of Human Life referring to “defending the unborn,” which is in line with that of the Republican Party. The Journal asked Camacho if he were prepared to lose the election over the issue.
Camacho said, “Absolutely. I’m prepared to win an election over this issue too.” He said there is a “clear distinction” between the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio team and the Camacho-Ada team on the issue. Following the issuance of the July 6 opinion from Guam’s attorney general in Guam on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – that the issue has been returned to the states – and therefore the territories, Camacho also said that it will be an issue for voters – and for the Guam Legislature.
The launch event was attended by Republican Party officials, former senators, and candidates for the Guam Legislature. Joy James sang A New Season – the theme of the campaign.
The full Camacho Ada platform is available at http://tinyurl.com/ANewSeasonPlatform
Guam DOL to forgive $5 million in overpayments
The Guam Department of Labor has sent out notification letters to individuals who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and/or Lost Wages Assistance, to inform them that they may request for a Waiver of Overpayment that may be owed to the department.
“We are waiving about $5 million in overpayments to those who were without work during the pandemic. For many of them, this means they won’t have to pay back hundreds or thousands of dollars to the department and they get to keep the extra cash for necessities,” said Director David Dell’Isola of DOL.
Applications of Waivers of Overpayment will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to a July 8 release.
Audit reports released for two funds
The Tourist Attraction Fund and the Guam Highway Fund audits were released July 7 by the Office of Public Accountability on July 7.
The TAF fiscal 2021 audit showed total revenues decreased by $14.3 million or 54% from $26.7 million in fiscal 2020, due to the pandemic. Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues decreased by 53% to $12.4 million in fiscal 2021, compared to $26.4 million in fiscal 2020. Expenditures from the TAF totaled $9 million, which was $1.8 million above the appropriated amount of $7.2 million.
The Guam Highway Special Revenue Fund and Capital Projects Fund ended fiscal 2021 with a combined decrease of net loss of $1.2 million compared to the operating deficit of $5.2 million in fiscal 2020. GHF’s expenditures to the Mayors Council of Guam salaries and wages exceeded the amount appropriated; $5.6 million was appropriated but $8.2 million was expended.
The highway fund primarily funds maintenance and construction of highways and roadways. Similar to prior years, $9.3 million of fiscal 2021 expenditures were unrelated to highways or transportation plans, programs or projects. Allocations did go to Department of Public Works operations, $8.3 million; Guam Regional Transit Authority, $1.2 million; and $649,000 in utilities for Guam highway streetlights.
Find the full reports at www.opaguam.org.
FSM and US hold four-day meeting on Compact; deadlines set for FSM and Marshalls
The Federated States of Micronesia met from June 27 to June 30 in San Francisco, with the next round of negotiations “to begin no later than August 2022,” according to a July 1 release from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs
The Marshall Islands and the U.S. held the first round of in-person negotiations on the Compact of Free Association at the U.S. Army base at Kwajalein Atoll from June 14 to16. See “Marshalls Compact talks put on fast track with aim for MOU by September,” in the July 4 issue of the Journal or on www.mbjguam.com
In related news, DOI announced June 29 $3.18 million in technical assistance and maintenance assistance to Guam for fiscal 2022.
Flurry of Guam groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings:
July 11 – Agat Marina’s Doc B and new restroom facilities
July 6 – Groundbreaking for Construction and Rehabilitation of Hotel Wharf, Port of Guam, funded through $15 million from the American Rescue Plan Act
July 5 – Groundbreaking for Rte. 14B (Ypao Road) Reconstruction and Widening, Phase 1, Contractor InfraTech International
June 27 – Ribbon cutting for Route 1 Resurfacing Project from Rte. 1 and Rte. 30 (Gov. Carlos G. Camacho Street) to Rte. 10A (Airport Road), funded by $7.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, completed by Hawaiian Rock Products
All events are led by the Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Joshua F. Tenorio.
More than 600 Korean students from 25 universities will be in Guam in July and August to study through the University of Guam English Adventure Program. They will stay in Tumon hotels and in UOG dormitories. Several universities are participating for the first time and staff hired for the program include 20 English as a Second Language teachers, according to a July 7 release.
The second year of the University of Guam Drone Corps Program has officially commenced. In partnership with Bella Wings Aviation, students from UOG and Guam Community College will participate in the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 Certification Program, according to a July 5 release from Bella Wings.
“The program provides first-hand knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles and explores advanced topics including regulations, airspace operations, and innovation.
“BWA’s Drone Course includes a FAA Part 107 drone preparation course as well as practical education to fully understand the operating requirements and procedures to safely fly drones,” the release said.
With plans to develop systems and hire local certified drone pilots and technical and administrative support, Bella Wings Aviation and the UOG Drone Corps Program will be ready to respond to current and future demands, according to the release.
For your diary:
Guam 78th Liberation Day Activities:
Various memorials ceremonies are being held around the island.
July 11 to July 15/July 18 to July 20 – Chamorro Village, Hagatna, Guam – The Liberation Festival from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with concession stands, vendors, game booths, amusement rides and food stalls and cultural dance performances at the main pavilion from 6 to 9 p.m.
July 14 – The Guam Society of America Inc., Guam Visitors Bureau and Honorary Host Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and her Washington D.C. Liaison Office – Wreath laying ceremony: 8 a.m., World War II Memorial, followed by reception at the Hall of the States.
July 15 – Congressional Liberation Day Commemoration with Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress – Wreath laying ceremony: 9.15 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington Cemetery.
Thursday, July 21 –Liberation Day – Guam Public Holiday and Marine Corps Drive Parade, with evening fireworks and drone display at Paseo
Friday, July 22 – Government of Guam holiday, with Liberation Fandanna Friday event, evening fireworks and drone show at Gov. Joseph Flores Memorial Park, also known as Ypao Beach Park