Tuesday, October 27, 2009

‘Guam can’t expect DoD aid for buildup’

‘Guam can’t expect DoD aid for buildup’

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 04:35
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

Second of a series

IT IS a policy of the Department of Defense not to provide funding for any buildup areas in a community, according to Celeste Werner, AICP president of Matrix Design Group, which is part of the governor’s Advisory and Consulting Team.

“There are a number of communities that are struggling with the exact same issues that Guam is experiencing as far as not having the funds to provide or get ready for the buildup,” Werner told Variety.

These communities, she added, are doing exactly what the government of Guam is trying to do, which is identify requirements.

“Identify them even though they don’t know what the real mission is because it’s changing. The draft environmental impact study is not out yet. They’re pulling their information together and in most cases, they’re in the same position,” said Werner.

While the consulting group can only provide input to the military, Werner foresees issues that need to be negotiated. “The military can say these are our projections and it may not be the same as ours, so there may be issues that need to be negotiated out,” she said.

Japan’s money

Werner noted that the funding that the government of Japan is providing is earmarked just for military construction projects.

“GovGuam has no control over that so we’re just focusing on what GovGuam can provide for revenues. We represent GovGuam. We worry about what GovGuam’s position is and make sure that it is fair and balanced across the board,” she said.

“Our documents will provide a third party objective, technical, professional review and opinion and recommendation that is not just coming from GovGuam. You can use those in plans and then go forward and identify more funds from different federal agencies,” said Werner.

Creative funding

Werner said the rush for federal funds is very competitive.

“Guam isn’t the only one vying for federal dollars for its own buildup. Some communities are being creative about how they are going to fund it,” Weerner said.

Some communities are doing public private partnership. Others are partnering with different nongovernment organizations involved with environmental issues that may have the same mission or goal as Guam in some specific areas that would require some additional funding.

“This is pulling both public and private in a partnering opportunity,” said Werner.

Werner said her group will be able to provide solid factual data with a third party objective and show the justifiable need for whatever Guam needs to meet and sustain the challenges of the buildup.

A series of workshops will be held to address the socio-economic impact of the buildup as well as an orientation of the national environmental policy act process related to the buildup.

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