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Puerto Rico Treasury account balance won’t affect access to community disaster funds

By on May 17, 2018

Omar Marrero, chairman of the Public-Private Partnerships Association (Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

SAN JUAN – The balance of the Puerto Rico government’s main account, which according to the latest figure was $2.65 billion, will not affect access to Community Disaster Block Grant program funds.

The director of the Public-Private Partnerships Authority, Omar Marrero, clarified Thursday that a requirement imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department that the island’s Treasury Single Account must be at less than $1 billion to qualify for the loans, does not affect access to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds managed by the U.S. Housing Department if used for infrastructure and other community aid.

Marrero explained that the maximum balance requirement is to qualify for Community Disaster Loans (CDLs), which are different from CDBGs, which already have an action plan, issued May 14, and will now go through a public comment process.

Federal grants will take long to help Puerto Rico’s recovery

“The CDBG funds are separate. They have applicable regulations and they won’t affect our access to those funds due to the TSA account,” Marrero said in an aside while participating in a Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association event.

The island’s TSA dropped to $2.65 billion, as of May 4, compared with the previous week, according to the latest report by Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority.

The weekly cash flow is $75 million and the accumulated net cash flow to date is $852 million. Despite the government having projected $102 million for the week ending May 4, general collections were $89 million.

In the week of April 27, the TSA had reached $2.73 billion. The account had been rising since at least March before declining the week of May 4. The report does not specify the reason for the drop.

U.S. Treasury Secretary, Puerto Rico governor reach agreement on disaster loans

On March 22, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced an agreement with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the terms for the disbursement of the CDL funds, which will be available if the island’s cash balance is below $1.1 million.

Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado said in an interview Wednesday that for the time being these funds will not be requested because there is enough money in the TSA.

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