Saipan mayor’s office: $1.4M budget not enough

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“WE don’t have enough money,” Office of the Saipan Mayor budget officer Terri Camacho told  the House  Committee on Ways and Means during a budget hearing on Tuesday.

The office is hoping for a $3.2 million fiscal year 2021 budget, but the administration can only propose $1.4 million.

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, along with his staffers, said without sufficient funding, his office will not be able to consistently fulfill all its  duties to the people of the island.

Following the 48% across-the-board cuts implemented by the administration due to the steep decline in government revenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Saipan mayor’s office let go of 32 of its 71 staff members, and reduced its biweekly work-hours to 64.

“I would like to have everybody back, but we have to wait and see until our economy goes back to normal,” the mayor said.

The mayor’s office no longer has enough funding for operations as well as the repair and maintenance of vehicles and equipment used for the beautification of the island, he added.

Camacho said the proposed new budget can only pay for their office rental agreement, communications, personnel services, fuel, official representation, and utilities.

“I don’t know if the mayor’s office can live with this budget while still performing all of its duties, and responding to the needs of the community with nothing at all.”

The lawmakers, for their part, expressed their gratitude to the mayor and his staff for their  contributions to the betterment of the island, especially the effectiveness of the mayor’s beautification projects.

 

 

 

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