GPD, GFD face significant budget shortfalls - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GPD, GFD face significant budget shortfalls

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The lack of revenues coming into the Government of Guam's coffers is putting a strain on every agency and department. But it appears the money appropriated by lawmakers for the current fiscal year isn't going to be enough for public safety agencies leaving them in an emergency situation of their own.

They've crunched the numbers and there's plenty of dollars and non-sense when it comes to the Fiscal Year 2011 budgets for the Guam Police Department and the Guam Fire Department. Administrative Division Chief Captain Mark Charfauros said, "It's an extreme domino effect. It's a challenge for the Calvo Administration, however, that's the reality of GPD. You're right. We're looking at least $10 million. And that's a conservative figure."

GFD spokesman Joey San Nicolas added, "We've already been operating shorthanded, short equipment, short manpower but we'll continue to find ways to streamline things although we're definitely squeezing all the juice out of the lemon. We're going to do what we can with what we have."

The Guam Police Department is currently tracking a $10 million shortfall for salaries, overtime and rental of office space that will be necessary before the end of the fiscal year. "Rather than give the police department the resources we need to meet these challenges we're consistently being reduced. So we're getting hit all over," Charfauros added.

The situation is the same for the Guam Fire Department that is projecting an $8.2 million shortfall for salaries, overtime, equipment, supplies and logistics. "We've already submitted our request for a supplemental budget," San Nicolas continued. "We're also being more progressive, proactive with our revenue collection projects that are forthcoming.  Ambulance fees as well as our fire prevention fees and fines and updating them to where they need to be."

Both departments - say the worst-case scenario - would be no supplemental funding, which will ultimately impact services firefighters and police officers provide to the public. "Yes, it is a challenge, and it's a challenge we've grown accustom to and we'll continue to perform everyday as we can," San Nicolas said.

Charfaurous also said, "In the end if GPD isn't provided the resources needed to provide such services then what we're going to be seeing in the future, is longer waits for police services, we're going to be waiting with delays in cases because our officers will be overworked and inundated

In the hopes that won't happen and responses to emergencies won't be further delayed, both departments are hopeful lawmakers will identify additional funding to grant their supplemental budget requests.

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