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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Saipan lawmakers urged to allot $2.7M bond funds for CIPs

Gov. Eloy S. Inos asked the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation to consider appropriating over $2.717 million in bond funds and associated interest that is available for use on eight capital improvement projects on Saipan such as for road paving, buying school buses, hospital bed replacements, and equipment purchases.

Inos said that after working with the Commonwealth Development Authority, a total of $2,717,969 has been identified in bond funds and associated interest available for Saipan projects.

“These funds present an opportunity for use to address some longstanding problems and I submit for your consideration the following projects for appropriation along with a brief description of the proposed projects,” Inos said in a Feb. 14 letter addressed to SNILD chair Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan).

As of last night, there’s no telling when Tebuteb or the SNILD would prefile a local bill appropriating these funds that CDA and the governor identified.

The governor’s proposed Saipan projects include $600,000 for Kagman’s road paving project; $250,000 to buy two 66-passenger school buses for the Public School System; $250,000 for the replacement of at least 50 hospital beds at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.; and $45,000 to build a Saipan Southern High School baseball field.

Also on the governor’s proposed list are $900,000 to buy the Department of Public Works its much-needed road equipment such as a road grader, a backhoe, a Bobcat and two dump trucks; $322,969 for administration facility equipment specifically for lawn cutting and grounds maintenance; $200,000 for the Division of Parks and Recreation’s purchase of a water tanker and a bucket truck; and $150,000 for the construction of a small amphitheater and related facilities at the Carolinian Utt.

On the Kagman project, the governor said the $600,000 funding will pave selected roads in Kagman 2 and 3. Of particular concern, Inos said, is the lack of a connector road between Kagman 2 and 3.

Inos also said the last time PSS bought 66-passenger school buses was in 2011.

As for CHC’s hospital bed replacement project, the governor said the hospital still has the original 86 beds from when the facility opened in 1986.

“These beds are worn out and antiquated and cause harm to the patients and caregivers. In a recent inspection, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services strongly recommended that new beds be purchased in order to aid the prevention of bed ulcers, patient falls and caregiver back injuries,” Inos said.

The governor added that Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) has been requesting that the CNMI dedicate funds to replace the hospital beds since 2007.

Saipan Southern High School also does not have a baseball field, so the students use the field at a nearby elementary school, the governor added.

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