Apatang disappointed over ‘drastic’ cuts in budget request


David M. Apatang

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang is disappointed with the $2.2 million that was cut from the Saipan Mayor’s Office budget request for fiscal year 2023.

At the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee hearing on the his office’s budget, Apatang said they submitted a detailed budget request to the Office of Management and Budget last Feb. 24 and detailed what they will need to continue performing and delivering public service to Saipan residents. For fiscal year 2023 budget, they asked for $4.2 million, Apatang said.

However, based on what the Executive Branch eventually submitted to the House, it shows that the Executive Branch reduced their budget by $2.2 million, he added.

Not only is this reduction a drastic cut to the budget they would need to continue operating next fiscal year, but the Executive Branch zeroed out their operation budget, Apatang said.

He said the fiscal year 2023 budget that the Executive Branch submitted to the House in the amount of $1.9 million is only for personnel.

“You make your honest assessment whether keeping this island you call home safe and clean and beautiful it is today with a…budget of $1.9 million hat the Executive Branch determined will be sufficient to do so, or we will be kidding ourselves if we believe that notion,” the mayor said.

He said the Executive Branch stated in a message about the fiscal year 2023 budget that the Mayor’s Office should maximize the use of the American Rescue Plan Act money.

Apatang said what everyone needs to understand is that the use of ARPA state and local fiscal recovery plans money should benefit the island in the long term by spending it on improving infrastructure and public utilities like roads, social halls, port facilities, public restrooms and others.

Apatang said they need to maximize the once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity that the federal government has generously given to the CNMI to fix and repair badly needed infrastructure and public facilities.

“We might not have another shot in the future at spending millions to make those improvements. When we build improvements that will last a long time and reap the benefits over the years, that is what we must term as ‘maximizing our limited resources,’” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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