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Federal receiver trashing the draft contract

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Just as island residents and elected leaders weigh in on the draft contract for a waste-to-energy facility on Guam, so has the federal receiver. Gershman Brickner & Bratton is trashing the idea saying it will increase costs drastically. In a special report filed with the District Court of Guam on Monday, receiver representative David Manning outlines a myriad of concerns regarding the proposed contract.Gershman Brickner & Bratton is trashing the idea saying it will increase costs drastically.

"And the contract results in a new waste energy plant on Guam that would add significant cost to the cost of disposing of solid waste on Guam the contract has many provisions in it that are not in the best interest of certainly of the Guam Solid Waste Authority and its ratepayers," he said.

Manning says with respect to the GRRP contract, there are many reasons why perhaps one would not choose to go in this direction. "And you simply cannot lay on top of a solid waste system that the Government of Guam has invested a large sums of money in these additional sums of money and we believe it would require a bond issue of some $230-plus million to do," he added.

Manning adds he believes rates would increase for example at almost $400 a ton for the commercial side and about $70 a month for residential. Over the life of the contract, he believes the cost over and above this system as it exists today would be increased somewhere close to $500 million. Along with the costs, manning importantly notes that this proposed contract will impair the Guam Solid Waste Authority and the Government of Guam to assure compliance with the Ordot consent decree.

The governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark hasn't seen the proposed contract nor did he participate in the court ordered mediations. He does however weigh in on manning's concerns over costs. "I find it very interesting how Mr. Manning is talking about how expensive the plan will be when Mr. Manning is putting in place himself a very expensive plan for which he has made no proposal whatsoever of how we're going to fully pay for it," he shared.

The Guam Economic Development Authority legal counsel Tom Fisher meanwhile says it's completely within the receiver's responsibility to make these arguments, but suggests he makes them to lawmakers. "Mr. Manning is clearly an expert in this and I think his voice should be heard about the contract and it's impact whether or not it's going to be  more expensive or less expensive there are fifteen members of the 32nd Guam Legislature and they need to hear Mr. Manning say these things," he said.

For Manning it all comes down to a cost factor. He says if Guam does wish to preserve landfill space, it's best and most cost effective option is recycling. He adds waste-to-energy when done properly is another way to make the landfill last longer however it will not be inexpensive if GovGuam goes down this road. He says to suggest it will actually reduce cost of the system and the rates of solid waste customers is either badly mistaken or intentionally misleading. His suggestion to the court is that Guam engage in an independent expert to conduct a feasibility study on the matter.

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