ASG owes ASPA more than $10 Million
The American Samoa Government’s utility debt continues to grow and is now more than $8 million, according to a report by the American Samoa Power Authority distributed last week to lawmakers during ASPA’s fiscal year 2013 budget hearing.
However, if the outstanding and current utility bills for the American Samoa Community College and the LBJ Medical Center are added, the ASG debt increases to more than $10 million, money that some lawmakers say is needed by ASPA, which is moving forward with the implementation of the next rate hike come Oct. 1, this year.
The ASPA one-page report states that as of Sept. 11, the total outstanding and current debt owed by ASG is $10.49 million, and of this total $8.74 million is outstanding and current for ASG; $631,359 is outstanding and current for ASCC; and $1.11 million is outstanding and current for LBJ.
For ASG itself, there are twenty six departments, offices and agencies with outstanding and current debts, with the Department of Education the highest debt owed at $3.35 million followed by the Department of Port Administration with $1.16 million; the Department of Public Safety at $933,537 and Department of Administrative Services at $851,999
Some interesting debts include $358,743 for public street lights; Legislature with $257,460; the Executive Office at $182,578 for the residences of the governor and lieutenant governor; the Commerce Department at $192,050; Health Department with $479,260; and Public Works at $237,316, according to the ASPA report.
With the Fono also owing a utility debt, Rep. Larry Sanitoa — during the Fono’s FY 2013 budget hearing last Thursday — asked Fofoga Solia with the Legislative Fianance Office as to why this bill has not been paid to ASPA.
Sanitoa said he questioned why there was a $50,000 funding allocation for FY 2012 to pay the Fono’s electric bills, but ASPA’s report shows a huge outstanding debt of $257,000.
Solia replied that he is not clear about the ASPA report but the Fono continues to pay its utility bills. He also stated that he knows that when the Treasury Department pays ASG’s utilities it includes the Fono — and this was confirmed by ASG Budget and Planning Office director Malemo Tausaga, who was present at all budget hearings.