Proposed Corrections Facility Would Cost Guam $30 Million

admin's picture

Debt service payment would be $2.5 million a year: GEDA official

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Jan. 7, 2014) – The proposed construction of a new Department of Corrections (DOC) facility — priced at approximately $30 million — would carry an estimated debt service payment of $2.5 million annually, according to the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA).

Discussion on the construction of the facility resurfaced with the recent public hearing convened for Bill 172, or the Department of Corrections Construction Initiative Act of 2013, a measure introduced by Sen. Brant McCreadie.

The measure would authorize the government to enter into a lease or leaseback arrangement with a contractor for the financing of the project. The bill would allow the cost of the financing to be amortized in periodic installments not exceeding 30 years from the date of completion of construction.

Lester Carlson, GEDA public finance manager, said that a financing of this magnitude would require an estimated debt service payment of about $2.5 million annually.

A concentrated effort to reduce the actual borrowing cost by seeking grants and federal assistance should take place immediately, he said, adding that it is also important to note that given the current state of federal funding assistance, a reliance on federal money cannot be taken for granted.

"This means that more local resources will ultimately have to be tapped to address this need," he said.

However, he also stressed that GEDA supports the intent of the bill as it carries the importance of public safety for both present and future generations of inmates on its shoulders, especially in light of the existing federal civil rights violations filed at the District Court of Guam.

Violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act filed by the United States government more than a decade ago has placed the Department of Corrections under the threat of receivership — one reason why the bill was introduced proposing the construction and renovation of the department’s facilities in a bid to bring DOC into compliance.

Carlson also discussed five possible funding sources, including a 20 percent surcharge on any or all traffic violations, a $300 special assessment for contempt of court and probation violators, transfers by the governor of Guam of funds under his oversight, transfers from the DOC director of no more than 5 percent of DOC’s annual budget, and grants and federal government assistance.

McCreadie said the bill has one overreaching goal — to construct a safe, modern and true correctional facility for Guam.

"The oldest building was constructed in the 1960s while the newest was constructed in the 1990s and that is already showing some wear, tear and cracks," he said.

A new facility, he said, would reduce overtime costs, which in 2013 amounted to about $1.8 million, and would also maximize manpower, reduce employee fatigue and increase wellness, productivity and employee morale.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment