The Commonwealth Ports Authority is trying to negotiate an omnibus agreement with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to ease the authority's burden of paying for current obligations, some of which are being described as “inflated.”
This ongoing negotiation was confirmed by CUC chief financial officer Charles Warren, who pointed out that no agreement has been reached yet.
“CUC and CPA are currently discussing many issues, including water/wastewater billing, easements for water wells, etc. These discussions are ongoing and are anticipated to be completed very soon,” Warren told Saipan Tribune, adding that it is premature at this point to discuss numbers since no agreement has been finalized yet.
Saipan Tribune learned that the omnibus agreement will comprise a memorandum of understanding that will allow the offsetting of CPA's power and water billings up to 2028. It was learned that CUC still owes CPA from the sewer line project in 1996.
The omnibus agreement, according to sources, is currently in the final negotiation stage and will be included in the 2012 audit report of CPA.
Saipan Tribune learned that under the proposed agreement, CPA will only start paying for power and water costs after 2028 but at the lowest CUC rate. The agreement will also incorporate “inflated” water bills to CPA that came about because of leaks at the airport.
Saipan Tribune learned that CPA spent $1.066 million on utilities alone in fiscal year 2012. The bulk of the expense is for Saipan, amounting to $485,000. Tinian had $334,000, while Rota had $247,000.
Revised personnel regs
The CPA board also announced during last week's meeting that the agency's revised personnel rules and regulations are in the final draft form and would soon be issued for board review and adoption.
The amended regulations will include, clear provisions regarding step-in increases for employees, recruitment, and hiring policies, among others.
According to CPA comptroller Derek Sasamoto, the agency has retained the 5-percent pay increase for deserving employees every two years-subject to performance evaluation and certification of funds. The CPA board, early last year, approved a 5-percent across-the-board hike for personnel salaries.
CPA employees were assured this fiscal year of 80 work hours, holiday pay, and hazard pay for those who work during holidays. The agency has an estimated 198 FTEs.