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Last updateWed, 20 Dec 2017 12am

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    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:39:40A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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House approves revised CUC FY 2018 budget

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a measure that amends the CNMI Budget Act to reflect the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s revised budget for fiscal year 2018.

All 20 members present voted for House Bill 20-135 which was introduced by Rep. Angel Demapan.

He said CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho earlier submitted a revised budget as the previous budget inadvertently omitted some critical expenditures.

The revised budget with the amended figures are reflective of the operational requirements for FY 2018 to ensure smooth and continuous service to CUC customers, Demapan added.

The previous figures for personnel and operations respectively were $15,476,852 and $55,442,421 for a total of $70,919,273.

These were replaced with $17,880,930 and $103,577,541 for a total of $121,458,471.

In an interview, Camacho said: “We were under a lot of pressure early this year as we tried to put a budget together, and I think we did it. However, there was a couple of key components missing and one of them was fuel and maintenance and those were critical programs. It was essential to get them in. So I communicated with Rep. Angel Demapan and other lawmakers, and they understood our situation. We got 100 percent support from them. With the economic growth, we are trying to deal with the demands on the infrastructure, but fortunately we have a very good team and a lot of forecasting and planning were done.”

He added, “We are happy to move forward. These changes [to our budget] are essential as they will allow us to be able to move forward with our programs. This money is not coming from the general fund — these are projected revenues and essential items for our budget that were not included in our budget as we first had it. We had to come back and add them so we can sustain our operations and continue with our plans. These projected revenues will allow us to spend on infrastructure and personnel.”

Demapan said CUC set its own budget and revenue projections, but the Legislature needs to approve them.

“They also have to generate their own revenues and fuel is the biggest factor for CUC, and that’s why we have to approve the revised budget so they can purchase fuel,” Demapan said.

The measure now goes to the Senate for action.