Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beautify CNMI will do it!

Saipan Tribune, Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lack of funds forces cancellation of junk cars bid
By Marconi Calindas

The Saipan Mayor's Office has cancelled its request for bids for the collection of junk cars on the island after learning that the funding for the project is insufficient.

Saipan Mayor Juan B. Tudela was supposed to release another bid bulletin for the collection of junk cars on the island after rescinding the erstwhile winning company's bid after it failed to meet the final requirement. But Tudela told Saipan Tribune yesterday that he ordered the procurement department to delay the release of the bid bulletin last week after finding that quotations from bidders would not meet the actual budget for the project.

"I cancelled it because at this moment we don't have much fund[ing] to cover the project," he said.

However, Tudela said there are several groups that have expressed interest in helping the CNMI alleviate the junk cars problem, which poses a health and environment hazard in the community.

A group from Guam, Balli Steel Guam, approached the mayor last month and told him that the company could provide services to collect the junk cars at minimal cost.

The company told the Saipan Mayor's Office that it would return with an offer, but nothing has come out of this.

Last year, the Legislature appropriated at least $30,000 to the Saipan Mayor's Office to help solve the problem of collecting junk cars in the CNMI. The money, according to the mayor, would also be used to fund the repair of its 12-year-old old boom truck.

The Saipan Mayor's Office first released its bid bulletin in February for the project but due to lack of necessary documents the awarding of the bid was forfeited. The same vendor has again applied for the bidding.

There are now an estimated 18,000 junk cars scattered all over the island, according to the Beautify CNMI's subcommittee on junk goods. Most of them are on private lots, auto shops, and other places.

Through his staff Tony Benavente, Tudela said his office is closely working with the Division of Environmental Quality to resolve the junk car problem on Saipan.

Benavente earlier said his subcommittee in the Beautify CNMI group wants to eliminate environmental hazard and risk by reducing the number of junk cars, scrap metals, and household appliances on roadways and residential area on Saipan. The subcommittee's concern is a lack of enough funding to buy the proper equipment, said Benavente.

Beautify CNMI is an environmental coalition of different government agencies and private sector.

In the meantime, Benavente said they are advising the owners of these junk cars to be ready when the time comes for the chosen firm to pick these items up

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