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Mayors Council talking trash

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Mayors Council of Guam was talking trash today, as the Islandwide Abandoned Vehicles Project has hit a couple of major roadblocks. First, the Council's contract with Balli Steel. The only thing that's flourished is the pile of white goods, junk cars, tires, loose metals and old batteries in Piti. 

MCOG Executive Director Angel Sablan told KUAM News, "They have collected from Santa Rita, Barrigada, Yona and we haven't seen anything shipped out of Guam. We're not paying because if you don't ship out we don't pay. What's happening now is subcontractors are calling it quits global for one is no longer accepting any na gasgas tanota bucks because they keep collecting these items and using all these bucks but they're not getting any bucks back actual cash back from Balli Steel because Balli Steel is not paying."

The way the program works is residents pick up vouchers or "Balli Bucks" from their mayor's office, which in turn allows for their junk to be dropped off at the company's subcontracted staging site.  Once Balli Steel ships the debris off-island they then pay their subcontractor.

According to Sablan, none of that has transpired. "We've tried to communicate with Balli Steel, the number we have for them either they don't answer or they're never in," Sablan said.

Aside from the controversy surrounding Balli Steel is the General Service Agency's heavy equipment subcontract, which has expired. The contract is for services like backhoes which help load the junk cars and white goods for removal to the staging sites. The new RFP that was issued didn't include the advice from mayors to change the requirement for payment to a per tonnage rate as opposed to a per-hour rate.

Sinajana vice-mayor Robert Hoffman said, "We were told who to use that was the objection we said we said we have people in our village who know our roads who know how to pick it up they said no this is who bid for the government wide heavy equipment contract," he said. Sablan added, "And the per hour rate from this bid actually went up from used to be around $55, some of them now $70-85 an hour."

The problems with the clean up project have mayors like Yigo's Robert Lizama considering the possibility of taking legal action specifically against Balli Steel. "I think its gotten to the point where earlier we need to get our legal counsel because we're dealing with a contract that's supposedly breached," said Lizama.

Other mayors, like Mangilao's Nito Blas, feel they should kill the contract and take over. "Just give us money a purchase order and I can do requisition and I can go ahead and look for vendors  that will give me the benefit and I'll take care of my village," he shared.

As a starting point mayors this morning agreed to write a letter with Guam epa expressing their dissatisfaction with the Balli Steel contract, which we should note expires in november. As for the subcontract for heavy equipment with the General Services Agency? Sablan said, "We're working with GSA to see if we can just go back to per village and give you your $14,999; you deal with two three vendors at that price and clear out your village."

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