The San Juan Daily Star
Fiscal board approves another CRIM request for advance disbursement to storm-hit towns
By The Star Staff
The Financial Oversight and Management Board has agreed to a Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM by its Spanish acronym) request to disburse $14.6 million to the island’s municipalities, the second such disbursement.
The oversight board was acting in response to Sept. 29 letter in which the CRIM requested approval from the board to make an additional partial disbursement of the surplus year-end liquidation proceeds of funds collected by CRIM on behalf of the municipalities in excess of the amounts it previously advanced to the municipalities during fiscal year 2022.
On Sept. 21, the oversight board approved CRIM’s request to partially disburse up to 50%, or $22.2 million, of excess proceeds to expedite the deployment of the funds to the municipalities in order to provide services to their communities and residents due to the emergency caused by the passage of Hurricane Fiona on Sept. 18.
The oversight board said it had analyzed the supporting materials and identified that 73 municipalities have revised surplus balances totaling $43.6 million. Additionally, six municipalities have revised deficit balances totaling $1.3 million.
“In prior fiscal years, CRIM and the Oversight Board worked collaboratively to ensure 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,” the oversight board said.
However, given the recent events impacting the municipalities in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, CRIM asked the oversight board to continue the deferral granted on Sept. 21 to defer the settlement of statutory debts and allow an additional partial disbursement of $14.6 million of the surplus year-end liquidation proceeds collected by CRIM above the amounts previously advanced by CRIM to the towns.
“Although we have identified certain municipalities that have past due and unpaid PayGo balances, we understand that the challenges the Island is facing due to Hurricane Fiona must be addressed immediately. It remains 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 oversight board wrote on Monday. “Therefore, after careful consideration, the Oversight Board approves CRIM’s request for an additional disbursement which increases the partial distribution up to 85% of excess proceeds to expedite the deployment of these funds to the municipalities in order to service their communities and residents.”