Puerto Rico governor hands $1 million check to every mayor
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló delivered $1 million to each of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities to cover operational and administrative expenses due to the decrease in tax revenue as a result of hurricanes Irma and María.
The allocation seeks to “mitigate the impact of reduced collections and emergency expenses for municipalities,” according to the governor’s office, La Fortaleza.
Rosselló went to Fajardo, Ponce, Mayagüez and Bayamón to present the check to the mayors of each region.
“Despite the inherited deficit, we have managed to identify funds that will help the municipalities during this recovery process because we recognize that they have been an important element during the response to the emergency that Puerto Rico faced during the past months after the passage of the hurricanes,” the governor said.
The funds come from the Municipal Emergency Assistance Fund, created through the Law of Support to Municipalities (Act 96 of May 8, 2018). The legislation was amended by the Legislative Assembly for the funds to be assigned rather than loaned.
The $78 million are a “direct contribution from the General Fund and will come from adjustments to the central government’s expenditures,” the announcing release reads.
“We will continue to help mayors who, like the central government, have major fiscal challenges. For this reason, we have reached an agreement with the Fiscal Oversight Board to give certainty to municipal assistance with the creation of an annual fund of $50 million for our municipalities,” the governor added.
La Fortaleza said Rosselló required the mayors to use the funds to provide continuity to the municipal services, prepare for another emergency or pay salaries and benefits to municipal employees.
“At the central [government] level, we have made the adjustments to ensure the payment of pensions and the Christmas bonus of our employees,” the governor added in the release.
Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, as well as other lawmakers accompanied the governor around the island.