AS FISCAL YEAR 2016 ENDS FRIDAY
The local legislative delegations of the Saipan and Northern Islands and Tinian and Aguiguan passed their respective local bills in separate sessions yesterday at the Hon. Jesus P. Mafnas Memorial Building in Capital Hill. SNILD held its session at the House chamber while TALD had theirs at the Senate president’s conference room.
SNILD unanimously voted to pass House Local Bill 19-76 that would amend a specific language on Saipan Local Law 19-19 so that the money appropriated could still be used even after the end of the fiscal year.
The TALD also passed Tinian Local Bill 19-4, which aims to make limited appropriations for personnel and operations of the Tinian Casino and Gaming Control Commission, the Tinian Mayor’s Office, and the Tinian Municipal Treasury for fiscal year 2017.
SLL 19-19 appropriated $1 million from the exclusive annual gaming license fees allotted for the CNMI’s Third Senatorial District. The local delegation voted unanimously to include “without fiscal limitation” language on SLL 19-19.
The 2016 fiscal year ends on Friday, Sept. 30, and the money appropriated under SLL 19-19, which was signed into law by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres last month, will also expire without the amendment of the provision.
“So what we did today was to ask the members to allow us to discuss and consider adding a provision on the local law so that it would allow expenditure beyond the fiscal year,” said Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan).
He said putting the without limitation clause would allow them to have the funds at their disposal or be re-appropriated to other programs. “[The] without fiscal year limitation [clause] would allow the funds to be re-appropriated in case a project becomes stagnant. We all agreed that would be the proper language.”
He added that it will not make any sense if the money appropriated would just lapse and not spent to fund a particular project if the fiscal year ends. “We realized the error that we failed to put in a provision that would extend the expenditure of such funds beyond the 2016 fiscal year.”
Some of the projects that the Legislature appropriated money either involve in constructing or repairing of facilities or will be funding specific programs for the community. Construction projects require architectural and engineering designs.
Construction projects won’t be finished in 30 days and having the without fiscal limitation clause would mean the projects that are funded by the money appropriated would continue. It would not lapse or be terminated after Friday.