CNMI submits project proposals for OIA grant program

The Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse recently submitted project proposals to the Office of Insular Affairs under the Technical Assistance and Maintenance Assistance Programs for fiscal year 2018.

This year’s project submissions focused on varying areas inclusive of public health and safety, environmental awareness, and regional issues.

Approximately $3 million in total assistance is being proposed. These submissions are not necessarily all TAP and MAP grant proposals; other autonomous agencies have also submitted their proposals before the April deadline.

Last year, the CNMI government received approximately $2.2 million in TAP and MAP funding from OIA.

The CNMI submissions for technical assistance include:

a. CNMI Property Address System. This aims to implement a numbering system for homes and commercial units in the CNMI.

The CNMI is growing. Development has been at an all-time high and with this growth comes the increasing complexities of identifying locations within a district. Often, even the most informed residents are muddled when giving directions.

The property address system shall positively affect the quality of services made available to the communities of the CNMI, especially addressing emergency response times through direct location identification.

b. Recycling Redemption Facility Revitalization Program. This aims to streamline the capabilities of the government-run recycling facility to include the redemption of aluminum cans and the recycling of rubber tires off-island. With the funding assistance, the Department of Public Works will be able to receive recyclables, pay out for the recyclable materials, process them for shipping, and barge them to vendors that will accept and prepare them for further recycling, scrapping and/or manufacturing. The program will escalate the islands’ recycling capabilities and jumpstart further action for a more sustainable future. It proposes to redeem aluminum cans at $0.03 to $0.05 each.

c. Comprehensive Economic Forecast Follow-Up Study. The last economic study for the CNMI was conducted in 2008. In the past 10 years, many activities have transpired that have altered the course and lives of people and businesses in the CNMI, warranting an updated report. Thus, it would be prudent for the CNMI government to render the services of a professional economic firm to study the impact of the current economic conditions as it may relate to past, current, and possibly future federal implications of our CNMI.

d. Zero Waste Initiative: An Island Composting Program. This aims to reduce the burden placed on the Marpi landfill by diverting green waste, yard waste, and food scraps into organic matter that will eventually be decomposed, recycled and eventually used as a fertilizer and soil amendment.

e. Marianas Working Group. A collaboration of minds from the CNMI and Guam, the group is will speak with a collective voice on local, regional, and national issues to develop policy solutions to mutually benefit both jurisdictions.

f. Automated Passport Control Units Acquisition. More APC units will be procured and stationed at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport to ensure that travelers clear immigration processing quickly and securely. The addition of the APC units would reduce the waiting times for incoming passengers.

g. Psychologist for substance abuse and rehabilitation program. The psychologist shall assist with the organization and management of rehabilitation programs, public-education campaigns, and therapy sessions for people struggling with substance abuse at the Hinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti (HOPE) Recovery Center of the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program under the Office of the Governor.

h. Utilization review nurse for CNMI Medical Referral Office. The CNMI has been paying excessive amounts in patient care services for some time. The services provided by the utilization review nurse shall safeguard the CNMI from paying excessive charges for patient care services.

i. CNMI Invasive Species Coordination (Year 2): The proposal is for the continuum of the CNMI invasive species coordinator. The coordinator shall safeguard and warrant the ideas and intentions of the CNMI Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plan.

j. Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Detection, Eradication, & Prevention (Year 2). The grant, if awarded, will be used for the continuum of the coconut rhinoceros beetle detection, eradication, and preventative measures throughout the CNMI, especially on Rota.

k. Floodplain Software & System Acquisition. The procurement of the Aeronautical Reconnaissance Coverage Geographic Information System, or ArcGIS, program software is being recommended to update floodplain data. The funding assistance will also be used to provide training for personnel to familiar themselves with the specialized program.

l. Rota Aquaponics Initiative – Phase II. An expansion to the already-running aquaponics program is long overdue. The project will include the introduction of additional vegetable varieties and varying aquatic life and program amenities to enhance the program’s sustainability on the island of Rota.

m. Micronesian Islands Forum. The forum provides for the reaffirmation of governments, to establish closer ties, expand future discussions and agree on beneficial initiatives for the benefit of the Micronesian region. The CNMI will be hosting the 23rd Micronesian Islands Forum.

Under the Maintenance Assistance Program, the following project proposals were submitted:

a. DPW grader acquisition. The addition of the heavy equipment unit will improve the division’s capacity to maintain roads on Saipan.

b. Ma’afala Breadfruit Initiative tractor acquisition. With approximately 40,000 square meters of agricultural space and over a thousand seedlings to nourish, the CNMI Ma’afala Breadfruit Initiative Program will use the tractor in the cultivation and maintenance of the landscape at Kagman.

c. Medical Referral Wheelchair Transport Vehicle Acquisition. A retrofitted wheelchair accessible van to be used by the CNMI Guam Medical Referral Service Office for the transport of CNMI patients receiving medical treatment and care on Guam.

The Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse also submitted a project proposal for the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority for the professional development of the program’s transit operators, transportation information specialists, and additional staff. The instruction and guidance provided from these working sessions shall ensure that safety, efficiency, and accountability is instilled into the daily operations of COTA and its service to the community.

Epiphanio E. Cabrera, Jr., administrator for the Office of Grants Management said that “the CNMI is quickly developing and we need to fortify many of our current programs and develop new innovative ones to meet economic progress. It’s been a blessing for the office to locate and pull more federal funds each year.”

Cabrera added, “the office certainly welcomes the community’s input, ideas, and suggestions for future proposed grant submissions.”

The Office of Grants Management is currently working on completing proposals under the Community Development Block Grant, a grant administered by the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. The management and staff are also putting together proposals for the Energizing Insular Communities grant program under the Office of Insular Affairs. Grant applications are due May 31, 2018. (PR)

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