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Last updateFri, 24 Nov 2017 12am

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    Thursday, November 23, 2017-3:40:55A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Saipan delegation looks for CARE funding source

THE Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation will find ways to provide the Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts or CARE the $650,000 it says it needs to build homes for the victims of Typhoon Soudelor.

CARE said it has provided assistance to a total of 745 families who have returned to their respective homes.

To date, however, there are still 48 families who are living in tents and need housing assistance, CARE executive director Jenny Hegland said.

CARE conducted a presentation for delegation members last week.

John Paul Sablan

Delegation chairman John Paul Sablan said lawmakers appropriated some $300,000 in assistance for CARE in the last fiscal year while the governor provided $100,000 from his personal account for a total of $400,000.

Sablan said they cannot guarantee anything but will try their best to find ways to help CARE.

One of their funding options, he added, are poker license fees.

However, because poker arcades in residential areas must be relocated by October, Sablan said they are anticipating a reduction in revenues generated from the poker industry which provides over $3 million a year.

Under the law, poker arcades must move to designated zones, but arcade owners say they are having difficulty finding new locations and may have to shut down.

Sablan said the delegation also receives funds from the Commonwealth Development Authority, the developer infrastructure tax, e-gaming and the Saipan casino.

He said funds from CDA and the developer infrastructure tax collections cannot be used for CARE as these are exclusively for capital improvement and infrastructure projects such as power, water and sewer.

He added that e-gaming is a small industry and is not generating much revenue. The only hope now is the Saipan casino license fee which is already paying for many other programs and activities on all three main islands.

“I told CARE that realistically, there is nothing much to tap and $600,000 is a significant amount, but we will try our best to find a funding source and assist the organization — it may not be that much but we will assist them,” Sablan said.