Senate and House approve their respective versions of supplemental bill for FY 2022
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Senate and House approved yesterday in third and final reading their respective versions of the Administration’s $12.65 supplemental bill for fiscal year 2022 — which begins on Oct. 1st this year.
Both chambers now go through the usual process of approving each others’ versions, which is expected to be completed by this Thursday before the current Second Regular Session of the 37th Legislature officially ends at the close of business this Friday.
The original bill had 18 programs and projects funded by the supplemental but following a Fono Joint Budget Committee hearing last Friday, lawmakers reduced that number down to 16 and amended the bill by deleting $500,000 for paying stipends for board members and $375,000 for bonuses to be paid to certain employees in multiple departments for their work on American Samoa’s COVID-19 response.
And the Fono reallocated the funds of the deleted projects for next year’s Constitutional Convention. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition for details.)
The amendments however, still kept intact the final total of the supplemental appropriation, which is to be funded from unobligated and unexpended revenue from fiscal years 2019 and 2020 to supplement the FY 2022 budget.
Asked by lawmakers about the funding source during last Friday’s Fono Joint Budget Committee hearing, both ASG Budget Office director, Catherine Saelua and acting Treasurer Levi Reese gave a firm answer that there are funds available from the surplus of these two fiscal years. Reese added that the funding source is the accrued surplus from FY 2017 up to the end of FY 2020.
The Senate also passed yesterday in third and final reading the Administration bill seeking a total of $211,707.06 from the ASG Traffic Rehabilitation Account for the purchase of vehicles and equipment to support traffic enforcement by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Of the total amount sought in the legislation, $169,500 will be used to purchase three police trucks; $32,207.06 for a Harley Davidson Motorcycle including shipping; and $10,000 to buy computers and printers for police substations to be used to complete incident and traffic accident reports.
The Senate version now goes to the House for review and consideration. The House version is pending in committee.