Special assistant for management and budget Virginia Villagomez gave government expenditure authorities up to Feb. 28 to submit their proposed budget and spending plans for fiscal year 2014. The 2014 budget or projected revenues available for government operations will remain at $114 million, just like the fiscal year 2013 level.
The Feb. 28 agency deadline will give the Office of Management and Budget ample time to prepare the administration's proposed budget, which must be submitted to the Legislature by April 1.
Villagomez said the CNMI's tourism economy is “once again growing with positive activities during the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.”
“Our current level will change if the trend of activities similar to the first quarter is not seen in the projected subsequent months,” she said in a memo to department and activity heads, autonomous and semi-autonomous agencies, and federal programs.
She reminded agencies to learn to rebuild what is slowly emerging positively in the CNMI's favor.
“We must continue to exercise prudent fiscal responsibility by safeguarding the resources we anticipate to collect and reviving our government's ability to maintain efficient public health, safety, and welfare programs that are affordable,” she added.
Villagomez also urged agencies to formulate their budget and spending plans with the concept of rightsizing areas of operations that do not affect delivery of basic public services.
“The outcome of your submission should match the efficiency and effectiveness of your program deliveries. Programs that have similar goals and objectives should be consolidated and/or eliminated. Human resources that can be shifted to other departments or agencies should be realigned during this budget submission,” she added.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos, during his and Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider's first meeting with Cabinet secretaries and directors yesterday, also reminded agencies about the Feb. 28 deadline for submitting their budget proposals.
Inos, who earlier said that the proposed budget for 2014 will remain at $114 million, said government work hours will still be 80 hours biweekly but asked agencies to live within their means.
Villagomez, in her budget call memo, said agencies should seek OMB's guidance to ensure that the employer's contribution is budgeted for those employees who opted to stay in the defined benefit or defined contribution plans.
In addition, under the “all others” category, each department and agency shall include a budget item for “utilities.”
Villagomez said OMB will also be making some changes to the way the office submits the budget to the Legislature, to inform lawmakers and the public about what the agencies are and their role as a department or agency of the government.
She asked agencies to include a brief description of their program, goals and objectives, a complete justification of each budgeted category, their department's accomplishments in 2012 and their anticipated accomplishments in 2013 and 2014.
Fiscal year 2014 runs from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.