Some mayors have yet to use  $90K for solid waste removal

TRASH: A bullet-riddled freezer lies in the jungle just off Route 34, the road leading to Two Lovers Point, Sept. 15 in Tamuning.  David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Most villages have been sitting on purchase orders meant to get rid of mostly green waste and discarded electronics, even as other villages are seeking more funds to remove abandoned vehicles just two weeks before the purchase orders expire.

Mayors were authorized $1.3 million from the recycling revolving fund for fiscal 2021, which is ending in about two weeks. But some mayors still have not used their allotted purchase orders.

For fiscal 2022, the same amount is set for the mayors but Mayors' Council of Guam President Jesse Alig, mayor of Piti, said it would be hard to justify a funding need if mayors don't seem to need funds anyway or not use them for the intended purpose.

"If we’re complaining to the governor that we don't have money, complaining to the Legislature that we don't have money, we need to show that we need the money and that we can use the money," he said.

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency's process includes ensuring invoices are in order for the prior year, before releasing funding for the new fiscal year.

"So we can talk about all the bad people over there but really they're just waiting on us and it really is your invoice so if you ... have electronics (purchase orders) and you're not using it, give it up to someone else or de-encumber the money and use it for something else that you need for some other recyclables," Alig said.

Angel Sablan, executive director of the Mayors' Council, said there's still nearly $90,000 in unused purchase orders for electronics and green waste, an amount that can still be de-obligated and used instead for the removal of more abandoned vehicles.

"Most of the villages are not using it," Sablan said.

If mayors don't use the funds by Sept. 30, they would be de-obligated and returned to Guam EPA, Sablan said.

Sablan urged mayors to immediately inform him whether mayors would rather cancel the purchase orders for electronics and green waste, and either use them instead for their other more pressing needs such as removal of used tires or abandoned vehicles, or share them with other mayors.

Mangilao Mayor Allan Ungacta said his village needs additional funds for abandoned cars, white goods and electronics, while Sinajana Mayor Robert Hofmann said there are still about 60 abandoned vehicles that need to be removed in his village. However, because these are residents that do not want to comply with the law, he said, the mayor's office would need help from Guam EPA and the Department of Public Works, he said.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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