Budget hearing for Port Admin reveals positive revenue collection
An audit report for the Airport Division, rock quarry royalties, and government vessels — including two to be auctioned off — were some of the issues raised by lawmakers during yesterday’s fiscal year 2014 budget hearing for the Department of Port Administration.
Sen. Magalei Logovi’i asked about royalties collected by the government from the lease of the McConnell Dowell rock-quarry located inside the airport compound, to which Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele said, in the last four months the royalty payments have been between $13,000 and $15,000 due to major road work on island.
Taimalelagi said the rock-quarry royalties bring a lot of revenue and Magalei suggested the government look at the lease to make sure that ASG gets its fair share of the royalties.
At the outset of the department’s budget hearing, Rep. Larry Sanitoa shared his concern with Taimalelagi over a request from the Legislative Financial Office, which sought an audit report of the Airport Division for FY 2012 — but none was provided.
Instead, Sanitoa said, the Fono was informed that such a request should go through the Governor’s Office. He said the requested report should have been provided to the LFO.
Sanitoa said that he, along with other lawmakers wanted to see the current status of the Airport Division, which is a revenue generating agency under the Enterprise Fund, as budget hearings were being scheduled.
Taimalelagi said she was not aware of such a request and therefore doesn’t understand this particular issue, but said she would look into this audit matter.
Sanitoa did note that based on the profit and loss statement for the Airport Division, it’s “very positive in terms of [revenue] collection” but the government at the same time is providing a $200,000 subsidy.
“Do you still need this subsidy?” Sanitoa asked to which the director said “yes”. When asked again by Sanitoa, Taimalelagi responded, “yes, we are going to need it”, which brought laughter from other lawmakers and a smile on the director’s face.
According to the profit and loss statement, the Airport Division’s total operating revenues for FY 2014 stand at $3.79 million, which includes a $3.59 million projection for collected revenues — such as services provided and leases/rents.
Sanitoa suggested Port Administration do all possible to collect any lease payments in arrears, as this will help with the government’s coffers.
FY 2014 expenditures total $3.50 million with personnel services — at $2.24 million — the highest expense. The Airport Division is projecting a surplus of just over $290,000 in FY 2014.
Under FY 2013, the division collected $3.24 million during the first nine months of the fiscal year and expended $2.91 million in the first nine months. Final numbers won’t be available until after the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, 2013.
It was noted during the hearing that $80,000 is being paid for the land lease for the Fitiuta Airport on Ta’u island and $30,000 for the Ofu Airport land lease.
During the hearing Sanitoa also asked about ASG vessels and their status.
ASG vessels listed in the budget, with an allocation of $400,000 for repairs to be handled by the local shipyard, include three tugboats — among them is the new Sailele purchased from Marisco Ltd., in Honolulu. Also listed are the Uila o le Sami, the MV Sili, the Manu’atele III and the Fo’isia.
Taimalelagi said plans are for the Fo’isia to be auctioned off, which will be conducted by the Office of Property Management. The Manu’atele vessel is also being planned for auction, because, according to the director, repairs will be too costly. She noted that in a recent meeting which included the U.S. Coast Guard, it was discovered that repair costs will be more than $1 million. As for the other vessels, they are still in use, she said.
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