Senator red-flags vague items listed in GovGuam's ARP expenditures report
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Telo Taitague is to scrutinize certain expenditures listed in the Bureau of Budget & Management Research’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Funds Report for the period ending Oct. 31.
Taitague noted that some listed items are vague, while others did not seem related to Covid-related economic recovery.
Among the items Taitague questioned include a $6,000 expenditure on a sexual assault awareness video production and more than $30,000 in overspent funds by the Department of Military Affairs.
"I think it would be in the administration’s best interest to explain some of the expenses on this list because I don’t see how a $6,000 sexual assault awareness video production relates to Covid-19 or economic recovery," Taitague said.
During the 2024 budget deliberation, Taitague authored an amendment requiring that more details be provided in financial reports submitted by the administration.
“I’m glad that my amendment to the budget act is being followed as some of the items listed in these hundreds of pages of expenditures raise serious questions," Taitague said.
Additionally, Taitague is preparing to seek further information regarding the more than $30,000 that is listed as a negative balance for the Department of Military Affairs, along with a $10 million allocation listed simply as a “reserve” item in BBMR’s ARPA expenditure report.
“In the true spirit of transparency, I think BBMR should be more forthcoming with the details of a $10 million ‘reserve’ allocation, especially as we fight to repair a failing mold-infested hospital and find solutions to fix public school campuses,” Taitague said.
Signed into law on March 11, 2021, ARPA is a federal program that provided $350 billion in additional funding for state and local governments to assist them in recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under ARPA, eligible uses of these funds include:
Revenue replacement for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the Covid-19 public health emergency, relative to revenues collected in the most recent fiscal year prior to the emergency,
Covid=-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts of Covid-19, including assistance to small businesses, households, and hard-hit industries, and economic recovery,
Premium pay for essential workers,
Investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.