Fono in Review
TAOTASI ASKS LEADERS TO CUT BACK FONO SPENDING
The Ituau faipule Taotasi Archie Soliai said the Fono overspending from the last two fiscal years combined came to $3 million and said that House leaders should look into ways to minimize Fono spending.
He noted that the FY 2013 first quarter performance report says that based on first quarter spending, the Fono is projected to overspend its budget by $1.5 million and it’s a shame that he has received calls from the public about this issue, yet he does know not know how to respond to questions raised regarding this overspending.
Taotasi said there is a huge cut back on Federal funds taking effect and that will severely impact funding for local government departments and agencies. He said the Fono leaders need to take a serious look at their [Fono] spending.
He also pointed out that during his visit to the public schools in Ituau County, there are still students consuming tap water, yet ASPA is continuing with the boil water notice.
The Ituau representative believes this is not limited to the schools but the public is also consuming the water and the ASPA Committee should still look into this very serious issue, given the importance of the health of the students and the public.
PORT TO LOOK AT REDUCING FEES FOLLOWING REQUEST FROM PUBLIC
The Director of Port Administration, Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele is looking at decreasing fees for several services provided by the Port. This follows a request which came after it was brought to the director’s attention that the fee to charter vehicles to and from Manu’a for one way is $250.
The matter was raised during the House regular session yesterday by Manu’a faipule Toeaina Faufano Autele. Toeaina, who noted that it’s costly to charter vehicles back and forth to Manu’a, and vehicles are brought to Tutuila for maintenance, yet at times, it's more expensive to bring the vehicle here, than to fix it. He said this is one of the main reasons that there are so many vehicles in Manu'a that are "out of commission”.
Responding to Samoa News queries, Poumele said a reduction of fees to transport vehicles has been on her list of adjustments.
She further stated that fees to charter items using the MV Sili to Manu’a by government agencies and departments will also be decreased. “Currently it’s $14,000 to charter items/machines to Manu’a and I’m looking into adjusting this fee, as well as the $250 which was hiked on May 18, 2006,” she said.
Poumele explained that the new service the port is providing for the public is that any time any government agency or department pays to charter items to Manu’a, members of the public can also charter their personal items, such as vehicles, furniture, building materials and goods free of charge.
Samoa News understands that in the past, this was one of the ways the Port generated income, by collecting fees from the public when chartering items, after the government agency paid the $14,000.
“Last week, a couple of families were able to take their vehicles to Manu’a free of charge when ASPA chartered the MV Sili. “The Port will announce when government agencies will be chartering the boat to Manu’a and members of the public will use this opportunity to take items over to Manu’a," she said, adding that it depends on the availability of space.
“Yet I understand and was informed that there is always space on the MV Sili” said Poumele. Another issue that Toeaina brought up is that vehicles in Manu’a are not registered with the Office of Motor Vehicles and are not insured.
“This is a major issue. If an accident occurs in Manu’a, who will be responsible? Are these cars even safe to go on the main road? The Department of Public Safety should be looking into this very important issue,” said Toeaina.
Samoa News contacted OMV Manager Commander Afui’ai Lee Vaouli, who confirmed that this has occurred over the years and declined to further comment. Calls to Commissioner of Public Safety William Haleck were not returned as of news time.
HOUSE APPROVES RESOLUTION TO IMPLEMENT FLOOD CONTROL IN LEONE
The House members on Thursday approved a resolution that respectfully directs the governor and Director of Public Works to make plans and immediately implement an excavation and flood control mitigation construction project for the Leafu stream in Leone, extending from the Leone waterfall to the Pala lagoon. The resolution further requests use of remaining funds from Western District ASG-ASGERF $20million loan for this much needed project.
According to the resolution, throughout the years, the flow of water in the Leafu Stream has become obstructed by debris, litter and construction, and during heavy rainfall, this causes major flooding, endangering life and damaging the property of Leone residents.
After any flooding the stagnant water in and around homes causes serious health hazards as it becomes a breeding ground for disease carrying insects as well as contaminating clean water supplies in the village wells.
The resolution states that to alleviate and mitigate the dangers posed by the current condition of the Leafu stream, a project to begin flood control construction starting from the Leone waterfall to the Pala Lagoon must be drawn up and immediately implemented by the government.
“Without immediate rehabilitation and remediation of this stream, residents of Leone will continue to be exposed to these unsafe and unnecessary conditions. The funding for this project may be available from any remaining funds in the Western District funds says the resolution.”
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