$142M FY ’17 budget bill finalized

Set for introduction Thursday

The House of Representatives has finalized a $142-million fiscal year 2017 government budget bill and is set to introduce it in a session this Thursday.

House Bill 19-196 appropriates $1.42 million for the Commonwealth Development Authority; $13.155 million for the Commonwealth Ports Authority; $50.13 million for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.; $2.56 million for the Northern Marianas Housing Corp.; $2.08 million for Office of Public Auditor; $49.54 million for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.; and $3 million for the Commonwealth Casino Commission.

The Public School System gets $36.27 million; the Board of Education gets $188,507, while the Northern Marianas College is budgeted $4.42 million.

The bill gives the CNMI governor 100 percent reprogramming authority within the Executive Branch and also offers salary cap exemptions, essentially salary increases, to several positions in government.

Under the section on salary cap exemptions, the annual salary of the resident department heads of the First and Second Senatorial district, or Rota and Tinian respectively, are increased to $45,000.

The annual salary of the resident deputy commissioners of the islands of Rota and Tinian are also amended to $45,000.

The annual salary for the special assistant for management and budget/CIP administrator is increased to not less than $62,000.

Under the bill, $5.97 million is budgeted for the Judicial Branch, including $361,266 for the local drug court.

Another $7.34 million is budgeted for the Legislature, including $300,000 each for the leadership accounts for the House and Senate.

Offices under the governor in total get $6.63 million. Under this, the Governor’s Office gets $1.1 million and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office gets $780,000.

For departments under the Executive Branch, $1.42 million is budgeted for the Department of Commerce; $2.56 million, for the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs; $4.55 million for the Department of Corrections; $3.97 million for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services; $4.83 million for the Department of Finance; $914,706 for the Department of Labor; $2.74 million for the Department of Lands and Natural Resources; $6.01 million for the Department of Public Safety; and $3.56 million for the Department of Public Works for a total of $37.21 million.

The First Senatorial District, or Rota, gets $7.41, $3.06 million of which goes to the Rota mayor’s office.

The Second Senatorial District, or Tinian, gets $7.17 million, $3.6 million of which goes to the Mayor of Tinian.

The Third Senatorial District, or Saipan and the Northern Islands, gets $2.75 million, $2.1 million and $505,870 of which go to the Saipan and Northern Islands mayor, respectively.

Board and commissions get $1.78 million. These include the Civil Service, election commission, and other boards.

The bill also stated that $25.63 million are budgeted in total for the government’s independent programs, which include the local library which gets $640,821, a Breadfruit Program that gets $170,600, and $2.877 million for the elected Attorney General’s Office, among others.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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