GAO report: Guam needs DOD info - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GAO report: Guam needs DOD info

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by Nick Delgado

Guam needs timely information from the Department of Defense in order to meet the challenges of planning and financing off-base projects and programs to support a larger military presence. Such was the subject of the United States Government Accountability Office's latest report regarding the relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

The GAO report states that Guam faces two key challenges to support the increase in population as a result of the military buildup: that the impact of Guam's debt ceiling on the Government of Guam's ability to take in more debt to help fund off-base projects and programs is uncertain; and that GovGuam's operating $415 million deficit can affect the island's ability to borrow because of questions about the extent of whether the government can afford more debt.

The GAO includes that while the Guam Bureau of Budget & Management Research has said that they will have difficulty finding sources to close current deficit as it attempts to fund the buildup projects, Guam may be able to secure some revenue through issuing bonds. The report also notes the local government's recently-hired consultants, Matrix Design Group. The company was hired to summarize the planning, environmental and fiscal components of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is scheduled to be released on November 20.

The GAO says that the results of the consultants findings could help indicate the extent by which GovGuam may be able to identify and develop revenue streams rather than to rely solely on federal grants for off-base infrastructures.

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