AG disapproves abandoned vehicle removal agreement - 1

LOADING: Tow truck workers with Best Car & Truck Services get ready to load a junk car onto a flatbed tow truck along Ysensong Road in Dededo on Aug. 31, 2020. The company was contracted last year by the government to remove of abandoned vehicles. Post file photo.

Village mayors and their offices will have to wait a little longer before they have access to funding to remove junk vehicles, white goods, and other litter strewn about in neighborhoods.

The Office of the Attorney General confirmed it will not be approving a Memorandum of Agreement between the Mayors Council of Guam and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, which have collaborated over the years to direct local dollars into the constant need to combat illegal dumping.

They renew their agreement for the conditional use of Recycling Revolving funds annually, but a number of government officials have to sign off on the MOA, including the governor and attorney general.

“My understanding is that there are issues with it that will not allow us to sign off as to legality and form,” Carlina Charfauros, OAG spokesperson told The Guam Daily Post.

Recent meetings of the Islandwide Beautification Task Force indicate that the agreement could be impacted by the lack of a government impound lot to house abandoned vehicles.

MCOG Vice President Robert Hofmann, who serves on the task force, previously said the designation and use of an impound lot would allow government agencies to remove abandoned vehicles from public easements and roadways, among other things.

"The law is very clear. The government can do it if there's an impound lot but there's none right now, so designating a space that meets the criteria of the drainage...safety and security. We can see a huge improvement in helping to push the citations out," Hofmann, mayor of Sinajana, said at the IBTF’s December meeting.

But the law referenced by Hoffman predates this year’s unapproved draft memorandum, and a near-identical agreement was signed off by the OAG last year, according to MCOG President Jesse Alig, mayor of Piti.

Copies of MOUs from last year and this year show the MCOG facing the same conditions to spend funds transferred from GEPA, priorities for which trash to remove, and reporting requirements. The differences between the two documents amount to funding levels and effective dates that are specific to the fiscal year.

According to both memos, the MCOG would be allowed to “enter into any contracts with permitted recycling companies for the collections, recycling, processing, or any combination of automobiles, buses, heavy equipment, trucks, batteries, tires, white goods, and other recyclable materials in accordance (with local law).”

Chafauros said the OAG continues to work with the MCOG to resolve any legal issues with the draft agreement.

Last fiscal year, according to information shared by GEPA, mayors submitted about $1 million worth of invoices to address waste in neighborhoods. That not only comprises 1,932 abandoned vehicles, but also 8,910 tires, 1,981 white goods, 668 electronic products, 1,385 cubic yards of green waste and 966 cubic yards of loose metals.

Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio tapped Bureau of Statistics and Plans Director Tyrone Taitano to work with other agencies in identifying possible sites for an impound lot for vehicles.

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