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Proposed supplemental budget for FY 2014 to pay for Eastern District road repairs

fili@samoanews.com

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is proposing a $625,000 supplemental budget for fiscal year 2014, to fund repairs to roads In the Eastern District. The governor have also proposed a measure that would increase the amount of money the Budget Office can transfer between ASG budget accounts.
 
SUPPLEMENTAL PROPOSAL
 
In his letter to the Fono leaders that included the supplemental proposal, Lolo says as the territory moves into the New Year, one of the challenges is to continue the momentum generated over the last several months with respect to the repair and rehabilitation of the main roads and highways.
 
While much has been done in the last 12 months focusing on the more heavily travelled roads on the Western District, he says decent highway conditions are as important to the residents of the Eastern District of Tutuila, “as they are to all of us.”
 
Therefore, he is proposing a supplemental appropriation to utilize the $625,000 that was line-item vetoed in the FY 2014 budget for the purposes of repair and rehabilitation of the main highway between Visa Point (around Lauli’i village) and Fagaitua.
 
Lolo urged the Fono for early review of this worthwhile measure that would ease the traveling burden for motorists in the Eastern District.
 
The proposal, which is now put in bill form for introduction in both the Senate and House, comes months after concerns were voiced by lawmakers from counties in the Eastern District that more attention has been focused on the Western District roads than the Eastern District, which also faces the same bad road conditions.
 
TRANSFER INCREASE
 
The bill to increase the amount of funds the Budget Office may transfer between ASG accounts was introduced yesterday in both the Senate and House and assigned to the appropriate committees for review.
 
In his letter, the governor informed the Fono current laws creating the Budget Office and its duties as well as establishing budget procedures and governing budget expenditures, were enacted into law in 1977.
 
And in the 36 years since these laws were enacted, the economic conditions have changed dramatically, the value of the dollar has shrunk through continued inflation, and the size of the government's budget has grown significantly.
 
Lolo says these changing circumstances have rendered the existing authorized transfer amounts no longer practical and therefore of limited value in effective and timely budget management.
 
Increasing the authorized budget transfer amount will facilitate more efficient allocation of resources within the Budget Office and contribute to more accurate and timely budget reporting, he said.
 
Current laws allow budget mangers of departments to move account amounts up to $5,000 or 15% whichever is lesser, from one account to another; and also permit the Budget Office director to move amounts up to $25,000 or 30% of the account.
 
The current law allows the budget director to transfer up to $25,000 without Fono approval.
 
Under the new bill, budget managers would be permitted to move amounts up to $10,000 and the Budget Office director to move up to $100,000. Fono approval will also be required if the funds shifted are over $100,000.
 
This law deals only with transferring local funds while transfer of federal fund amounts awarded to American Samoa is governed by guidelines issued from  time to time by committees or appropriations of the U.S. Congress.



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