Lawmakers divvy up $1.4 million for Rota


Lengthy debates ensued as the Rota Legislative Delegation led by Sen. Steve Mesngon (R-Rota) met yesterday to allocate Rota’s $1.4 million obtained from the annual casino license fee.

Rota, which receives $2 million annually from Public Law 18-56, or the law that allowed the casino industry to enter the CNMI, has a balance of over $1.4 million after their previous appropriation of $522,189 was allocated toward the salaries of Rota Mayor’s Office employees.

According to delegation member Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota), who proposed a substitute version of Rep. Glenn Maratita’s (R-Rota) House Local Bill 20-55 to reflect minor changes, the new bill now addresses comments from the Rota Mayors Office, past due obligations of the Rota Municipality, the subsistence allowance for dialysis and terminally ill patients, salaries for 26 municipal employees, and a final payment to a debt owed the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, among many others.

The bill allocates $116,214 for medical referral subsistence; $147,349 for Rota municipal employees; $58,000 for Rota scholarships; $200,000 for the Rota Gaming Commission; $10,000 for Rota inter-island medical referrals; $75,000 for Department of Lands and Natural Resources Rota’s procurement of a tractor and its attachments; $50,000 for Agriculture Affairs; $12,000 for the upcoming Flame Tree Festival; and $50,000 as final payment for a debt owed the Saipan and Northern Islands Delegation.

While the bill encompasses even more allocations from the over $1.4 million budget, Santos wishes that the delegation is able to identify even more funding for Rota.

Santos also pointed out that the Rota delegation also owes the SNILD about $490,000 back in the 19th Legislature and had promised to pay it. HLB 20-55 also marks the Rota Delegation’s final payment.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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