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$1.6 million in overspending offset by higher revenue

By Emmanuel T. Erediano SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 7, 2012) – Although the total spending in the first quarter of the fiscal year stayed within the budget, the government still overspent in personnel, utilities and medical referrals, according to the Department of Finance.

In her report to Senate President Paul A. Manglona and Speaker Eli D. Cabrera yesterday, Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson said personnel expenditures exceeded the budget allotment by $1.6 million.

Public Law 17-55, or the government appropriation measure for FY 2012, continued the government austerity measures by cutting biweekly working hours to 64.

Larson said government’s expenses for utilities and medical referral are "areas of concern" that will need to be addressed before the end of the fiscal year because each exceeded the budget.

The government overspent by a little over $1 million for utilities and $499,894 for medical referrals.

Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos earlier told reporters that only $1.250 million was appropriated for utilities but the government spent about $2 million.

Inos said the business gross revenue tax collection exceeded the estimates, and this offset what would have been the first quarter deficit. He attributed the increase in revenue collection to the holiday season and the monthly payment of BGRT.

However, Larson said the total government expenditure, which was $25.6 million, "was well within the limits." P.L. 17-55 appropriates $102 million for FY 2012.

The Department of Public Safety overspent in personnel by $416,761; the Office of Attorney General overspent by $120,998; and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs overspent by $64,011.

The Department of Public Health, now the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., was allotted $5 million and spent $227,357 for personnel.

DPS on Rota overspent by $57,710 in personnel while DPS on Tinian, overspent by $29,223.

In an interview yesterday, Manglona, Ind.-Rota, said there are still unpaid vendors and scholarship awards.

Some students have yet to receive their scholarship checks, he added.

In the area of operations, he said many divisions and departments are not getting what has been appropriated.

"We need to see whether the appropriations in the budget measure are on the same level with the first quarter expenditure allotments," Manglona said.

"Since we are one quarter into the fiscal year, I guess we can now see if the government’s expenditure level is on track," he added.

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