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With supplemental bill signed into law, Lolo makes good on promise to pay old bills

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has praised the Fono for their expeditious approval of the administration’s $5 million supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 2013 that will address some of ASG's legal financial obligations as well as continue funding for some programs.


The supplemental, which covers some 21 projects and programs, is funded by four separate sources: $1.3 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement unpledged proceeds; $500,000 from the Toyota Motor Corp., settlement with U.S. attorneys general; $1.7 million from the underestimate in the government’s FY 2013 original budget submission of recoverable indirect costs related to federal grants; and $1.5 million in projected military income cover-over tax.


“My administration was pleased to have been able to identify specific funding sources for this appropriation bill, which addresses several pressing issues facing the government,” wrote Lolo in an Apr. 12 letter to the Fono leaders, advising them that the supplemental has been signed into law.


“I appreciate your work and the work of your colleagues in the swift passage of this measure,” he said.


Due to the urgent need to fund government services, the language in the bill calls for the measure to go into effect immediately upon passage by the Fono and approval of the governor.


The only major change made by the Fono to the original language of the bill was to reallocate $100,000 from a  $300,000 appropriation for Department of Education facilities and school supplies to instead fund repairs to the MV Sili.


Shipyard Services Authority chairman David Robinson told Samoa News last week that total cost for MV Sili repairs was just over $30,000.


Robinson this week acknowledged the efforts of diver Sean Gregg, the president of Atlantic, Pacific Marine Inc. who was contracted by the Port Authority to carry out the work underwater and on the vessel’s deck at the Port dockside before it arrived at the shipyard.


“His work was instrumental in saving a lot of time before we started work at the shipyard so the vessel could be back in the water as quickly as possible,” Robinson told Samoa News.


The supplemental bill will pay in full three legal obligations which are outstanding from the previous administration, with the largest amount of $916,000 to settle overtime payments for ASG employees. This was the settlement between ASG and the U.S. Department of Labor.


Lolo had promised in his first address to the Fono in January that these legal obligations would be resolved as soon as possible, because ASG is liable and therefore must pay them.