NMI awarded over $23M in 2020 OIA grants

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FOLLOWING an interview with U.S. Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas Domenech last week, a report from the Office of Insular Affairs on Tuesday showed that the Commonwealth has received over $23 million in grants this year alone.

Under their Technical Assistance Program, or TAP, the CNMI has received $2,614,991.25 appropriated this year by the US Congress for the following projects:

  • $334,360 to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation for advancing mammography equipment
  • $430,828 to the Department of Public Safety for a community oriented policing project
  • $507,493 to the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services for their Cadet Employment and Resiliency Program and $116,070 for breathing air quality for respiratory protection
  • $146,826 to the Department of Commerce for the prevailing wages study
  • $68,674 to the Tinian Mayor’s Office for the Tinian Children’s Park Improvement Project
  • $77,745 to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for benefits planning training
  • $79,051.25 to the Department of Public Works for advanced technological support for architectural and engineering projects
  • $232,707 to the Office of the Mayor of Saipan for increasing staffing level and capability
  • $153,606 to the Commonwealth Zoning Board for the technological enhancing of land use and buildings management
  • $23,324 to the Department of Lands and Natural Resources for the propagation of native trees impacted by natural disasters and $96,793 for their invasive species coordinator
  • $202,598 to the Marianas Visitors Authority for the visitor data analysis program
  • $144,916 to the Municipality of Rota for their emergency responder radio repeater system improvement project

TAP grants are intended for short-term non-capital projects that foster development in areas such as accountability; financial management; economic development; disaster assistance; natural and cultural resources; capacity building; public safety or emergencies; health initiatives; and invasive species management.

These grants are not meant to supplant local funding of routine operating expenses.

 Under the Maintenance Assistance Program, or MAP, the CNMI has received $1,221,489 appropriated this year by the U.S. Congress for the following projects:

  • $216,370 to the Municipality of Rota for the Rota quarry rock crusher alternative
  • $135,000 to the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation for their certified employee water and wastewater training program
  • $156,815 to the Rota DFEMS for skeeter step-side brush truck and SCBA
  • $492,652 to the DPW for the storm water sanitation equipment or truck
  • $220,652 to the Department of Public Lands to the Managaha pier safety railing project

 MAP grants are used to promote and develop insular institutions and capabilities that improve the operation and maintenance of infrastructure in the island areas.

These grants can require a matching contribution from an insular area government.

 Under the OIA Coral Reef and Natural Resources, or CRNR, Initiative, the CNMI received $869,340 appropriated this year by the U.S. Congress for the following projects:

  • $205,890 to the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality for watershed planning and project implementations
  • $203,335 to the DLNR for the coconut rhinoceros beetle detection, eradication, and preventative measures, and an additional $237,795 for their mucuna pruriens eradication project
  • $222,320 to the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance for their Tasi Watch Program and Schools for Environmental Conservation

This initiative provides funding for management and protection of coral reefs and to combat invasive species in order to improve the health of coral reef ecosystems and other natural resources for long-term economic and social benefit.

 The OIA also has a Brown Tree Snake Control Program intended to prevent the dispersal and eradicate the existence of these snakes from Guam.

 $399,792.06 was awarded to the DLNR for its BTS interdiction program this year.

 Funding under the Energizing Insular Communities, or EIC, Program accumulated $1,706,075 in funding for the CNMI this year.

  CUC received $672,000 for phase three of their pre-pay meter conversion project; $301,700 for their solar engineering master professional services acquisition; $403,500 for improved efficiencies in power generation through Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, technologies.

 The Office of the Governor received $212,920 for its energy efficiency or energy star rebate program; $77,530 for integrating energy efficient and renewable energy for operational resiliency of its cool roof system; and $38,425 for energy and efficiency measures for operational resiliency of the Office of Women’s Affairs.

EIC program funding is for energy strategies that reduce the cost of electricity and reduce dependence on foreign fuels, according to the OIA.

 Compact Impact funding for the CNMI amounted to $1,873,263 this year with $1,652,879 for mandatory general operations offset and $220,384 for discretionary education offset going to the Office of the Governor.

This funding comes as part of the amended Compacts of Free Association between the United States and Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, in which $30 million in financial assistance is given to Hawaii, Guam, the CNMI, and American Samoa to defray costs incurred as a result of increased demands placed on health, educational, social, public safety, and infrastructure due to the residence of qualified nonimmigrants from Palau, the FSM, and the Marshall Islands.

The $30 million is allocated based on the results of population enumerations conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This particular funding is provided annually and is due to expire in 2023.

Funding under the Capital Improvement Program totaled $9,853,704 this year with all funds going to the Office of the Governor for the Department of Corrections fire alarm and sprinkler alarm and detection; West San Jose waterline architecture, engineering, and construction; Saipan Federal Emergency Management Agency cost share; the Public School System Typhoon Yutu cost share assistance; Rota landfill architecture and engineering; CIP program administration; infrastructure maintenance; and renovation of Building 1365 for the Commonwealth Disability Center.

The Rota Department of Community and Cultural Affairs was also recently awarded $101,613 from the OIA for the Rota Historical Sites Maintenance and Improvement Project.

In light of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the CNMI Government was awarded $4,409,485 in CARES Act funding with $366,900 of that funding going towards hygienic supplies.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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