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Guam governor dumps garbage collection, prison rent hike bills

Updated: May 9



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero vetoed a bill that would require subscribing to garbage collection for all residential buildings of four units or fewer, saying it would only impose an additional burden on Guam residents without clear solutions.


"I am in favor of island-wide garbage collection and support the bill's goals, but this bill does not fully address the concerns of our residents who are unable

 to add an additional bill to their monthly budget," the governor said.


She noted that while Bill 165-37 proposes to establish a Customer Assistance Program to provide financial aid to eligible ratepayers, it does not provide any details as to when the program would be implemented, how it would be funded, or the level of assistance it would provide.


"The bill imposes a new island-wide requirement with only a vague promise that sometime in the future there will be help for people who cannot afford it," Leon Guerrero said.


The bill was authored by Sen. Sabina Perez.


The governor suggested that the legislature could have appropriated funding for the Guam Solid Waste Authority to start a financial assistance program immediately to protect those who are unable to meet the mandatory payments. 


"1f we are going to mandate subscription, with a penalty for non-compliance, the bill must immediately help all those who will be burdened by this new 

government mandate," the governor said.

  

She recalled Mayor Jesse Alig's testimony against the bill, reminding senators that the elderly often have limited or fixed income and would have difficulty adding the cost of trash collection to their budget. 


"The manamko' are only one of the groups in our community living on limited or fixed incomes. I share Mayor Alig's concern about the impact this mandate will have on the people who can least afford the added burden," Leon Guerrero said.

 

"While I fully support an island-wide garbage collection service and the positive effects it would provide, we cannot impose this requirement on individuals who have the least ability to absorb the cost without assisting them in meeting this new burden," she added.

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The governor also vetoed Bill 234-37, which would raise the pledge of revenues for rental payments under the lease and lease-back

for a new Department of Corrections Adult Correctional Facility from $5 million to $15 million in annual appropriations from the general fund.


"I recognize that Guam's current adult correctional facility needs repair, modernization and additional capacity to accommodate future growth," the governor said. "Unfortunately, Bill 234 fails to address important fiscal concerns associated with these efforts."

 

The Bureau of Budget and Management Research cautioned against using the current fiscal year’s revenues due to recently passed and other competing measures, which have already exceeded the projected unobligated general fund revenues for the current fiscal year.

 

"However, Bill 234 did not identify FY 2025 funding and did not identify a final year for the funding authorization," Leon Guerrero said.


"BBMR further notes the Guam Economic Development Authority's concern that the annual appropriation from the general fund provided in the bill will impact our debt service and future bond borrowing," she added.

 



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