The Department of Public Lands announced over the weekend that it turned over $6 million to the Marianas Public Lands Trust in fiscal year 2019.
The remitted amount totaled $6,327,685.23, which is a 167.271% increase over the $2,367,513 that DPL remitted to MPLT in fiscal year 2018.
The department is constitutionally mandated to remit the funds it raises from public land leases to MPLT every year, minus administrative expenses. That means DPL does not rely on the central government to provide it with an annual budget in order to operate. DPL’s finances rely on collection projections for the fiscal year rather than central government appropriations.
“DPL continues to satisfy its constitutional obligation by remitting money to the Marianas Public Land Trust. DPL remitted $5 million in 2014 as an advance payment to future net of operations covering 2015’s remittance and requiring a reduced payment of $800,334.16 in 2016. In 2018 $2,367,513.00 was remitted and in 2019, DPL remitted $6,327,685.23,” it said in its 2019 citizen-centric report to the Office of the Public Auditor.
DPL revenue in fiscal year 2019 was projected to reach $4,550,453. However, DPL was able to collect $6,702,776.96 for the fiscal year —a 47.3% difference in projections.
Since fiscal year 2016, DPL has been able to maintain its revenue collections beyond budget projections for the fiscal year, the report further noted.
“DPL’s actual revenue continues to surpass its forecasted revenue predicted in the annual budget. Since 2016, revenue has increased and, in 2019, factors such as the expenses of creating the Land Use Plan, the large remittance to MPLT and other general operating expenses contributed to the revenue increase, which are particular to this year,” the report noted.
For DPL’s sources of revenue, almost half came from long-term lease collections at $2,384,023.97. Estimated revenue from the Business Gross Revenue Tax accounted for over $1.77 million of the department’s revenue as the department’s second largest contributor to its fiscal year 2019 collections. Other sources, including royalties, temporary permits, commercial permits, agriculture and grazing permits, submerged lands payments, and more contributed to the total revenue collection for the fiscal year.