Slider

Lt. governor: We are committed to assist CHCC, CUC

Local
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. are two of the most critical agencies that require government support, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said.

“We have made a commitment to assist them,” he said, referring to the $2.5 million that the central government promised to remit on Wednesday to CHCC so it can pay a portion of  what it owes CUC.

Arnold I. Palacios

CUC is demanding at least a $5 million payment by Aug. 6 or it will disconnect the power to CHCC for six hours every day.

CUC said as of June 12, 2020, CHCC had an outstanding balance of $35.7 million, and this amount  continues to grow by about $400,000 each month.

In an interview, Palacios said when the law creating CHCC was enacted in 2009, “I believe at that time we were not giving them the investment and the capital that they needed to start with. They were already in the hole to begin with.”

He said the financial strain faced by CUC and CHCC will continue to be a challenge, especially during this pandemic.

Palacios said these two public corporations should be among the top priorities of the government.

“Sometimes you have to have these discussions to refocus and reset the priorities in our community,” he added. “To me personally, these two are the top two that we need to pay attention to.”

He acknowledged, however, that “when you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in government we need to see where we are going to cut.”

Palacios said CHCC, for its part, should explore long-term solutions to its utility costs. These include implementing its solar power project, he added.

CHCC Board Chairwoman Lauri Ogumoro said they have been requesting CUC to charge CHCC the commercial rate instead of the government rate, which is three times higher.

“That is one of the contentions that we’ve had,” she said. “We have been trying to reduce it down to the commercial rate…we kind of [received] a negative response from the CUC. But charging us the commercial rate would help us stay within our budget,” she added.

CHCC chief financial officer Derek Sasamoto said the  monthly consumption of water, power and sewer services ranges from $350,000 to $430,000 a month at the hospital.

 

Shadow
Slider
previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider

Read more articles

Visit our Facebook Page

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider