Treasury report shows $75 million left unspent in CARES Act funding
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A report from ASG Treasury delivered to the House of Representatives shows that the government has spent a little over $40 million from the federal funds received last year from the CARES Act.
Total amount of grants received is $117,094,758 of which $41,914,134 has been spent, $17,069,518 has been encumbered and the total balance left is $75,180,624.
Last month, Tualauta Representative Larry Sanitoa made a request to Treasurer Malemo Tausaga and Budget Director Cathy Saelua to provide a current report on the CARES Act funding including the spending and the current balance.
Sanitoa’s request was echoed by several lawmakers including Rep. Vailiuama Steven Leasiolagi, the chairman of the House Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Faipule told Malemo during his confirmation last month that the Fono must exercise its oversight responsibility to ensure that the funding is spent according to grant rules so that ASG does not end up having to repay any funding that is spent on unauthorized activities.
The COVID-19 Grant Accounts report lists all funds awarded to different agencies and departments as of January 27, 2021. It also details how much has been spent, the balance of funding and encumbrances.
While the report is comprehensive, Samoa News will focus on six programs.
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OPERATION (FUND53)
ASG was awarded a $35.1 million grant under the CARES Act, which was overseen by the Governor’s office and funded 10 different projects. The report shows that $24.9 million of the fund has been spent leaving a balance of $10.1 million.
High Court — $2 million was allocated for the High Court demolition and construction $80,000 has already been spent;
COVID-19 Operation — $24.9 million was allocated and $22.7 million was spent;
M/V Pago — $2.5 million was allocated for the purchase and $1.5 million was spent;
Adopt a School Project — $500,000 was allocated and $316,338 was spent;
Tourism Industry Revival Program — $300,000 was allocated and it was all spent;
Marine Resources Building — $700,000 was allocated and $16,730 was spent.
The other four projects funded under this grant have not spent any of the funding, including the Administrative Code Revisions for $400,000; E-rate Center Hub Building for $1 million; DOE Centralized Administration Building for $2 million and ASCC Remote Learning Project for $800,000.
ASG was awarded $16.2 million under the CARES Act for two unemployment programs. They are the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. The two programs are administered by the Department of Human Resources with the aim of assisting those who lost their jobs, were laid off or faced reduction in pay as a result of the pandemic.
As of January 27th, just $3.4 million of the programs’ funding has been spent leaving $12.7 million remaining with encumbrances of $74,927.
Of the money spent thus far, $118,465 went toward administration, $2.2 million was paid out in benefits for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and $1.04 million was spent on benefits for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
ASG officials told House of Representatives last year that the unspent funds would have to be returned to the US Dept. of Labor.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE GRANT
The Governor’s Office was also awarded a Technical Assistance Grant of $4,079,020 of which $1.8 million has been spent with encumbrances of $1.9 million and a balance of $2.2 million. There was no information about what the grant entailed.
DOE HEAD START(ECE)
Early Childhood Education (ECE) under the Department of Education (DOE) was also awarded with the Head Start grant of $2,325,785 of which $204,591 has been spent and a balance of $2.1 million.
The Department of Commerce (DOC) was also awarded a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) of $2,811,686 of which $425,000 is for a Fire Truck; $100,000 for EMS Ambulance and $113,949 for EMS Substation; $106,491 for General Admin Tranche1 and $53,246 for General Admin Tranche2.
TERRITORIAL ADMIN. ON AGING (TAOA)
The Territorial Administration On Aging (TAOA) was awarded $650,000 of which $100,000 is for Home Delivered Meals; $50,000 is for Congregate Meals; $125,000 if for the Supportive Services; $300,000 is for Nutrition Services and $62,500 if for Family Caregivers.