Tax Refunds Road Construction and Safety in Our Community
A Weekly Address by Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
Hafa adai, my fellow Guamanians,
Today we began the long-awaited Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal project, or CAMA. It's important for many reasons, two of them I will highlight now.
Part of this CAMA project incorporates the tax mapping program. This technology will use satellite imagery to determine whether there are improvements to properties, and to see whether properties are being taxed correctly. The tax mapping is important for two reasons. First, we believe your government will capture more revenue through the proper and fair appraisal of property. This of course will be good for the services government provides to you. More importantly, we believe tax mapping will increase the valuation of property on the island, raising the debt limit naturally and bringing us closer to the bond we need to pay all tax refunds by Christmas.
The second component of the CAMA is the GPAS system. Among many benefits, the GPAS system will provide over-arching and integrated property information to the Departments of Revenue and Taxation, Land Management and Public Works. There are several reasons this is valuable to our community, but I want to spend some time on just one. We've seen over the decades how DPW digs up a road and resurfaces it, only to have GWA or GPA dig it up again to place new infrastructure in. The community is left with uneven roads, potholes-in-waiting, and further dangers to safety during and after construction.
This GPAS system, though geared toward property information, can provide a data overlay of this infrastructure so that, in the future, agencies can better coordinate construction. This is a real problem all of us face today, especially as so many roads and bridges are being worked on. We, unfortunately, were not involved in the contracting of these projects, but we do share your frustration about the conditions on our roadways. I know DPW Director Joanne Brown has been instilling some much-needed accountability for construction deadlines and quality control since taking office. I will be inquiring into the public affairs program for these construction projects, which were outsourced last year. I've heard too many complaints about residents not being informed of new construction.
This brings me to a final point about traffic, road safety and the importance of vigilance in our community. I understand the frustrations we all have about road conditions and some of the social ills befalling our island. But I am concerned about what seems to be an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities, robberies and abuse of one kind or another. My heart goes out to the families of the victims of traffic accidents. And while the reasons for these accidents have varied, the solution is apparent. In the midst of more dangerous road conditions, we all got the news of a man who allegedly was driving at 70 miles an hour with his wife and children in the car after drinking a case of beer. This followed news of a teenager struck in Yigo by a car that fled the scene, and the death of a 14-month-old baby who was allegedly starved to death.
Your government has been doing its part to help prevent these crimes. We brought back Operation Blue Fire to provide more police presence on the streets. GPD has sent its officers out for more patrols in your neighborhoods. We prioritize funding in the government to provide programs to people who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse... and we offer assistance for struggling families to have medical care, money to buy groceries, and housing assistance.
Government is only part of the solution. My dear people, I ask you to be vigilant. If you see someone speeding or being reckless on our roads, please report that vehicle to 9-1-1. You could save a life. Take care on the roads as well. You may be following all the traffic laws, but someone else may not. Report domestic violence. If you see a child or an elderly person being abused, call the police immediately. Call in suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood, and make irregular activity at your neighbor's house your business. And if someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, let them know there's a way out. We can improve our community, but we must do so together. I don't want to see another innocent Guamanian lose life or limb to any more tragedy.
There are so many good things going on in our community. I want everyone to enjoy the progress we are making together. Thank you and God bless and keep you safe.