By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam senators to seek residents' input on how ARPA funds should be spent
Guam residents will get the opportunity to provide input on how the government should spend the territory's allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Guam last week received $553 million out of the $664 million the island anticipates to get from the ARPA. However, according to the speaker's office, the legislature has yet to receive the administration's spending plan for the new stream of Covid-19 federal relief grant.
The leadership of the 36th Guam Legislature has introduced a resolution formalizing the legislature’s preliminary list of priorities for the ARPA spending, which was unveiled by senators earlier this month.
The senators' proposed list is intended to be consolidated with the governor's yet-to-be-released spending plan.
Members of the 36th Guam Legislature and Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero met behind closed doors earlier this month to discuss the ARPA.
“Guam has an unprecedented opportunity to use the American Rescue Plan funds to recover, address long-standing issues, and thrive. The legislature has presented its list to the governor and the community in a good faith effort to collaborate and find the best solutions for our island’s recovery," said Speaker Therese Terlaje, who authored Resolution 93-36.
The resolution is co-authored by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, chair of the appropriations committee, and Minority Leader Christopher M. Dueñas.
The legislature will hold its first public hearing for Resolution 93-36 on June 4 at 11 a.m.
"It is our duty to solicit input from the community and our government agencies regarding these federal funds and find ways to truly assist those in poverty and who are suffering from this pandemic, to expand our economy, and to enhance our public services for the people,” Terlaje said.
On May 6, the 36th Guam Legislature sent a letter signed by all 15 senators to the governor with a collective list of priorities for the anticipated $664 million from ARPA.
The priorities listed for the ARP funds focus on 1) direct assistance to individuals and families most impacted by the pandemic, 2) expanding healthcare services, 3) investment in infrastructure and technology that will spur economic growth, affordable housing and development, 4) workforce training and diversification and student aid to build the skills of our workers especially in areas that are critical for economic recovery and healthcare, and 5) upgrades and streamlining of government services.