Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Teregeyo has requested the local delegations of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota for funding “as soon as possible” to support the installation of power lines in homestead areas in the CNMI.
In letters sent Wednesday and Thursday last week, Teregeyo reminds lawmakers that the courts and the CNMI attorney general have made it “abundantly clear that cash generated from the management and disposition of public lands cannot be used to fund infrastructure,” and that the Legislature must appropriate funds from other sources for this.
Teregeyo wrote to the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, the Rota Legislative Delegation, and the Tinian and Aguigan Legislative Delegation.
For Rota homesteads, DPL requested $1.42 million; for Saipan it requested $1.093 million; and for Tinian it requested $1.682 million.
The figures come from Commonwealth Utilities Corp. cost assessments cited by DPL in the letters to install power infrastructure throughout the homestead subdivisions.
On Tinian, DPL says there are a total of 186 active village homestead applications. A total of 118 permits have been issued for the West San Jose Subdivision, but that DPL has withheld issuing 54 of these in light of recipients airing frustration about how they’d be prohibited from constructing their homes due to lack of infrastructure
“In the words of one of the recipients ‘what’s the use of having a permit if we can’t build?’” Teregeyo writes in her letter to the Tinian delegation, adding that they’ve also withheld issuing permits for the Kanadan Magpu Village Homestead application for these reasons.
On Saipan, DPL notes a total of 3,104 active village homestead applications on file. And says that the Plumeria Estate Homestead Subdivisions in As Gonno has a total of 228 lots available for distribution. However, lots have also been withheld due to lack of infrastructure.
On Rota, DPL said they have a total of 687 homestead applications on file, 312 of which are active applicants waiting for homestead subdivisions to open. And the most recent with subdivision plans finished is for the Finafa Homestead Subdivision, DPL said.
However, it notes that it has withheld issuing permits in light of recent experiences from numerous recipients at other locations airing their frustration being prohibited from constructing their homes due to lack of infrastructure.
DPL also disclosed that 142 permits were issued to homesteads for lots the Dugi Homestead Subdivision on Rota, but several lots were found to be of “solid limestone surface” and that recipients asked instead to be relocated to another site to due difficulties foreseen in constructing their homes.
DPL says the relocation site is proposed in the Mua area, which they estimate can provide 600 lots to accommodate pending applicants, relocations from Dugi, and future applicants.
In the letters to the delegations, Teregeyo notes that DPL has made similar request for funding in-person each since 2011.
The department, in the letters, pledges to assist in procuring services for installation of power poles as soon as adequate amounts have been appropriated and funds are available.