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Rota municipal officials concerned about steep budget cuts

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ROTA Mayor Efraim Atalig and his resident directors on Tuesday expressed their concerns about the budget cuts proposed for the Rota municipal government.

Appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee  hearing at  the Rota Court House, the municipal officials asked lawmakers to at least provide funding for fuel to operate government vehicles and brush cutters.

From $8.9 million in fiscal year 2020, the proposed FY 2021 budget for Rota is reduced to $4.7 million, thereby making deep cuts in the operating budgets of almost all resident departments, the municipal officials said.

Of the $4.7 million budget proposed for Rota, only $534,151 is allotted for operations and “all others” while  the remaining $4.2 million is for personnel.

Department of Public Safety Resident  Director Glenn Maratita and Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Resident Director Steve Mesngon said they understand the CNMI economic condition, but with not enough funding for their operations, it will be impossible for them to continue providing basic services to the people of Rota.

“We took note of all their concerns and we will deliberate on their requests along with the concerns of other government agencies once we discuss the budget in the session,” House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan told Variety.

Ways and Means Chairman Ivan Blanco, in a separate interview, said they recognize and will look into the concerns raised by the mayor and the other Rota officials.

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