Guam Agencies Request Funds For Festival Of Pacific Arts

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

$1.4 million for additional costs of police, fire, public works

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 3, 2016) – Three government of Guam agencies have requested additional funds totaling almost $1.4 million for costs associated with the Festival of Pacific Arts.

During a FestPac organizing committee meeting Friday, officials discussed the request from the Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department and the Department of Public Works.

The $1.4 million would cover various costs the agencies will incur during the festival, including overtime and fuel. The fire department has requested an additional $190,000, while GPD has requested $577,000 and DPW has requested $605,000 extra. FestPac is scheduled for May 22 to June 4 in Guam and will bring more than 2,000 people from islands nations throughout the Pacific, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Speaker Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, asked the committee whether they had a funding source for the appropriation.

Committee Chairman Nathan Denight said they did not.

"We are working with the agencies to see what the needs are for the event," he said.

The appropriation will help provide security, traffic control, medical support and busing for the event, he said.

Won Pat said she was concerned because the Legislature can’t move forward if there isn’t a funding source to appropriate the money.

"We appropriated basically every penny. Literally every penny that the government has brought in, that has been appropriated out," she said.

Sen. Rory Respicio, D-Agana Heights, said he was concerned that, without a funding source, it would be up to the Legislature to find the money, and, with about 50 days until FestPac, it may not happen.

"I don’t think we can get away with appropriating more money for FestPac," he said.

Respicio suggested that the committee work with the governor, who has transfer authority to find the money and transfer it to these needs.

Rose Ramsey, FestPac festival director, said the committee would work on it.

She said the costs weren’t part of the budget from 2013, but are needed to pay for the specific skills of those employed by these agencies. Not just anyone can drive a bus or has the medical capabilities of the fire department or the safety capabilities of police, she said.

"This is really something that we cannot avoid from happening," Ramsey said.

Won Pat said some of the costs being requested weren’t a part of the original budget because it was thought these items would be covered by other means. For example, fuel costs would have been taken care of by a fuel sponsor.

Denight said they’ve spoken to Mobil Oil Guam, which is interested in doing just that — meaning those costs could be saved — but it was safer for the committee to budget for those costs in case the sponsorship doesn’t go through.

The committee will explore all the options to fund the requests to see which one is feasible, Denight said.

Transfer to GVB

Meanwhile, the committee also approved transferring funds from the Department of Chamorro Affairs to the Guam Visitor Bureau to continue event management services.

The current events manager Adztech hired through Chamorro Affairs had a cap of $800,000 to spend, but FestPac officials have said more than $4 million could be spent for the festival, according to news files.

In order to move forward with procurement of services beyond the $800,000 cap, the FestPac committee had to find another option. Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson previously said both she and Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks recommended GVB take over the rest of the procurement — since the agency has the expertise to do so, according to news files.

The visitors bureau could see the return of roughly over $1 million out of the $4.2 million it transferred to Chamorro Affairs for the festival, Denight has said.

Agencies’ requests

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