Torres vetoes change of expenditure authority for solid waste funds


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has vetoed a bill that would have designated the mayors of Rota and Tinian as the expenditure authority for the solid waste funds for their respective island municipalities. Currently, the secretary of the Department of Public Works is the expenditure authority of the revolving fund.

Torres, in his May 30, 2016 veto message to the Legislature, finds no major legal deficiencies within the Senate Bill 19-60, but says policy considerations compel its disapproval.

Torres notes the “centralized system for solid waste management” established through current law, in his veto message.

“The current solid waste management statute established a centralized system for solid waste management in the Commonwealth under the expenditure of the DPW secretary…All appropriations for solid waste management, all tipping fees or other solid waste disposal or collection fees collected by DPW’s Division of Solid Waste Management, and any funding from federal grants and loans for solid waste management must be deposited into the revolving fund,” Torres said.

“The revolving fund is then divided into four sub-accounts reserved to meet financial assurance requirements for permitting facilities within the Commonwealth,” he adds.

Torres also noted that the sub-accounts for Rota and Tinian “include fees collected in Saipan.”

The sub-accounts for Rota and Tinian are allotted 10 percent of the total funds deposited into the revolving fund.

Torres said not all of the fees within the sub-accounts for Rota and Tinian come exclusively from the fees generated from those two municipalities.

“Indeed, the sub-accounts include funds generated within the third senatorial district and from federal resources,” he said.

The monies within the revolving fund are not segregated according to the point of collection by senatorial district and are in fact co-mingled, he said.

“For that reason, the revolving fund expenditure authority, inclusive of the sub-accounts, should remain with the secretary of the Department of Public Works,” Torres said.

The Senate bill, in its findings and purpose statement, says that the expenditure authority should be vested in the Tinian and Rota mayors to “expedite the disbursement of funds, and procurement of services and equipment for each municipality.”

It says that the mayors have “firsthand knowledge” of the solid waste needs and requirements of their municipality and should prioritize the sub-account funding for those purposes.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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