Adelup halts fee increase at Chamorro Village - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Adelup halts fee increase at Chamorro Village

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It's the place to be on a Wednesday night and we first brought you the story last week Friday about a proposal to increase rent and fees for merchants at Chamorro Village. Well, it appears the voices of concerned vendors have been heard as the Governor's Office has put a pause on the proposal for the time being.

"It's going to kill me, absolutely kill me, because the rent is astronomical, if I can say, it's like they're reaching for the moon for our sake," said Filamore Palomo Alcon. Has been operating the Guam Gallery of Art for nearly 20 years at Chamorro Village. A proposal by the Department of Chamorro Affairs to increase rent and implement a common area fee however has left the option of renewing his lease in November less than likely. "I know about the arts, I know about the culture and this place is my livelihood and right now, I got a lot of stuff, for me to vacate because of that high astronomical rate, I have to sell my product at 50% percent off," he added.

While the Department of Chamorro Affairs has been mum on details, merchants have told KUAM News a common area fee of over $800 would be applied for a 200-square foot unit. Some vendors occupy more than that amount. The common area fee along with the rental increase by hundreds of dollars would result in more than double of what many pay now. Alcon, like several other merchants KUAM News has spoken to, indicate a lack of transparency and what exactly the rent increase and fees would be applied to.

He said, "We are not operating in a Gestapo type of government, we are operating in a government of democracy that states the government is the people by the people - you don't just do a rate increase and not notify us and leave us in the dark that is absolutely evil."

The Governor's Office told KUAM today the fees will not be implemented right away. In a statement to KUAM, they note the Department of Chamorro Affairs will work with the Chamorro Village community to come up with a plan to ease the implementation of the common area fees. Vendors will be asked to be part of the process to ensure that they have a voice in the plan. The goal, they say is to ensure the Chamorro Village can continue to operate because based on a audit for the last fiscal year, the Chamorro Village lost $59,000. The largest expense was $249,000 for utilities, which is covered by the common area fees.

"We don't know, but if they are in the hole for whatever amount, is that our fault? That's mismanagement from Chamorro Affairs," said Alcon.

We should note several merchants gathered informally on Monday to share their concerns about the proposal.

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