Fiscal board agrees to release $22 million to towns as requested by CRIM
By The Star Staff
The Financial Oversight and Management Board has approved a request from the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM by its Spanish acronym) to release some $22 million to Puerto Rico’s municipalities as part of the year-end liquidation process.
The oversight board did so to allow the towns to deal with the ravages left by Hurricane Fiona over the weekend.
Specifically, CRIM requested approval to disburse any funds collected by CRIM on behalf of the municipalities in excess of the amounts it previously advanced to the municipalities during fiscal year 2022, and to settle any deficiencies for over-advanced amounts.
“We have analyzed the supporting materials submitted with CRIM’s request and identified that 73 municipalities have surplus balances totaling $44.4 million,” the oversight board said in a letter to CRIM Executive Director Reinaldo Paniagua dated Sept. 21. “Additionally, 5 municipalities have deficit balances totaling $1.2 million.”
In prior fiscal years, CRIM and the oversight board worked collaboratively to ensure that municipalities satisfied any outstanding statutory debts, including the payment of any past due PayGo amounts from prior years, prior to CRIM disbursing any excess funds owed to the municipalities as required under Act 107-2020.
“However, given the recent events impacting the municipalities in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, CRIM has requested the Oversight Board allow a deferral of the settlement of statutory debts and a partial disbursement of up to 50% of the surplus year-end liquidation proceeds of any amounts collected by CRIM in excess of the amounts it previously advanced to the municipalities during FY2022,” the board wrote.
“Although we have identified certain municipalities that have past due and unpaid PayGo balances, we understand that the current challenges the island is facing in the wake of Hurricane Fiona must be addressed immediately. It is our understanding that CRIM will complete the liquidation process under its normal processes in the ordinary course and as required under Act 107-2020,” the board continued in the letter. “Accordingly, after careful consideration, the Oversight Board approves CRIM’s request to partially disburse up to 50% ($22.2 million) of excess proceeds to expedite the deployment of these funds to the municipalities in order to service their communities and residents.”
On Thursday morning, island mayors asked the government to release funds to them so they could deal with the emergency caused by the hurricane.