(March 16, 2021 – San Juan) – Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi, along with the secretary of Housing, William Rodríguez Rodríguez, announced the redistribution of CDBG-DR funds from the City Revitalization Program so that municipalities have access to a greater sum of funds, as well as an additional allocation of $10 million for administrative costs and for speeding up the purchase processes.
“At the request of several municipal executives who asked to receive and manage this program’s funds in an effective manner, we requested that a thorough analysis be made in order to re-establish a distribution that would promote quick and efficient revitalizations for our municipalities and their residents. I am grateful for the work done by the Department of Housing, led by Secretary Rodríguez, to execute this effort and continue Puerto Rico’s reconstruction,” said the governor.
The increase in the allocation to municipalities was achieved after eliminating the distribution of funds by traanches, which simplifies the process and successfully allows access to the entirety of the program’s funds.
Rodríguez Rodríguez said that “since we began our work at the Department, we’ve been focused on evaluating all of the processes so that they’re quick and efficient. Today we’ve achieved a greater allocation to municipalities under the City Revitalization Program so that they can continue the process of rebuilding the Island, and we have also made the purchase process more flexible to help the municipalities.”
After a general request regarding the review processes in the steps for purchases and acquisitions, the secretary of the Department of Housing eliminated the mandatory review requirements through an administrative order, allowing municipalities to speed up this process. However, municipalities can complete this process if they wish to do so.
He also reported that municipalities will not be required to have previously participated in the Municipal Planning program, and will instead do so simultaneously, which simplifies and speeds up the process.
Among the other announcements made, $10 million were allocated for the administrative costs of municipalities, which may be used for procuring specialized professional services, such as lawyers, engineers, and planners, among others, to help municipalities.
At the same time, an additional allocation of $42.5 million each was reported for the municipalities of San Juan and Mayagüez, the purpose of which is to promote economic recovery in areas surrounding the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) at each of these two municipalities.
“This new strategic allocation seeks to prioritize investments and to promote favorable environment for both universities’ economic recovery. This will undoubtedly allow students and employees at these institutions to return to safe and economically developed areas at their place of work or study,” said the head of Housing.
For his part, the mayor of San Juan, Miguel Romero Lugo, said that “this additional allocation of funds is great news for the municipalities. Our Capital City has great potential for development and for making it a city that is attractive, safe, and full of socioeconomic opportunities for its residents. We thank the governor and the secretary of the Department of Housing for addressing our concerns and working for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Mayagüez, José Guillermo Rodríguez, said that “I am grateful on behalf of the people of Mayagüez for the immediate attention provided by the secretary of the Department of Housing, William Rodríguez, and Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s commitment, in making this allocation of funds that will undoubtedly be vital in organizing the city. This is a project that Mayagüez has been organizing since the 90s, and that will finally become a reality. Thanks to the governor for keeping his word.”
By funding City Revitalization, the Department of Housing will help the 78 municipalities and other eligible organizations carry out a variety of recovery activities aimed at revitalizing the community’s city centers, urban areas, and primary avenues.
These projects promote reurbanization, re-greening, and the restoration of lost natural resources, and it will further incentivize private investment in restored areas.