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Cockfight ban to cost Saipan mayor’s office $40K a year

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SAIPAN Mayor David M. Apatang said his office will lose at least $40,000 in cockfight fees starting this year.

The U.S. cockfight ban was extended to the CNMI and other territories in 2019, and on Dec. 31, the cockfight license issued by his office to Jay Sanchez expired, the mayor said.

As vice chairman of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members or AMIM, Apatang introduced a resolution calling for the exemption of Guam and the CNMI from the federal cockfight ban.

He noted that Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit, but the District Court of Puerto Rico upheld the ban.

“I guess we’re stuck with the cockfight ban,” the mayor said, adding that the lobbyists against cockfights are stronger because they have funding.

In fiscal year 2019, the Saipan mayor’s office received $3,053,700 from CNMI government appropriation; $40,000 from the cockfight license fee; $95,920, marriage fees; $39,206, identification card fees; $3,434, dog control program fees; $996,790; legislative appropriation; $68,889 from the U.S. Department of the Interior; $145,375 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and $96,533 in island beautification grant from the Marianas Visitors Authority.

In a report, Mayor Apatang said contractual and rental services were some of the biggest expenses of the mayor’s office in fiscal year 2019, reaching $1.05 million, second only to personnel and fringe benefits, which totaled $1.82 million.

The office of the mayor’s expenses included $10,131 for travel; $619,327, equipment; $335,852, supplies; $140,000, construction; and $68,764 for others expenditures, which consisted of utilities, official representation, licenses, and fees.

In FY 2019, the Saipan mayor’s office realized a budget surplus when it received a total of $4,539,847 and spent $4,030,858.

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