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Consent decree still costing taxpayers

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THE high cost of complying with the mandates of the solid waste consent decree continues to impose a burden on the island’s taxpayers.

The Ordot Dump’s discharge of leachate to Lonfit River has stopped, but the government of Guam needs to continue discharging financial resources to pay the receiver – Gershman, Brickner & Bratton (GBB) – to totally close the dump, complete the Layon Landfill, and pay the former landowners of 300 acres of condemned Inarajan property, where the solid waste facility has been built.

And if the Governor’s Office succeeds in replacing the Attorney General’s Office with private lawyers, the government will need to expend thousands of dollars to pay private law offices to represent the governor, the Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Management Division, and GBB.

Lawyers from the AGO who are representing the government in the case are not charging an hourly rate and other expenses as private lawyers do.

On Jan. 24, 2008, GovGuam filed a condemnation case to acquire the properties owned by Calvo Insurance Underwriters, Jones and Guerrero Co. Inc., Alfred and Diane Ysrael, Lee M. and Joan S. Holmes, Valencia Investments Corp., Henry Sy, Joaquin C. Arriola, Douglas Cushnie, and Young Chull Kim.

Superior Court Judge Alberto Lamorena III awarded the landowners $25 million plus interest, including the $3.4 million deposited by GovGuam into the landfill account. The amount represented the “just compensation” for the condemned lands based on the appraisal made by Nicholas Captain, president of Captain Real Estate Group.

To date, approximately $7 million in interest has accrued on the $21.7 million balance owed. Interest continues to accrue in the amount of $110,000 per month until it is paid.

Ordot Dump and Layon Landfill costs

Ordot Dump was officially closed in August 2011. Closure and post-closure costs for Ordot Dump were pegged at $1.7 million in 2011. It is estimated to cost a total of $45 million to perform the closure and post-closure processes.

Expenditures for the opening of Layon Landfill reached $26.6 million in 2011 and $39.1 million in 2010, which brings the total cost for the new landfill to $65.7 million.

Since GBB was appointed as the receiver on March 17, 2008, its fees have reached $9.7 million. In 2010 and 2011, GBB received $2.8 million for each year.

According to the Office of Public Accountability's December 2012 audit, there have been increases in solid waste operations and the operating cost was $9.3 million and reached $11.1 million in 2011. Among other services, the top expenses were for receiver’s fees, government and contracted personnel costs, roll out carts, and repairs and maintenances.

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