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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 24, 2024


Only one stipend of $15,000 was paid from money intended for the Home Protection Roofing Program, a Senate hearing Monday revealed, and of 446 applications that met criteria, 342 have been completed or are in process.
Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen told the V.I. Independent in January that bonuses up to $25,000 were paid from federal roofing monies, with an additional $14,000 paid from local funds.
According to Marc Biggs, acting commissioner of Property and Procurement, who said most of his six weeks on the job have been taken up with the roofing program, only one stipend has been paid out of those funds, the Independent reported Tuesday.
That $15,000 stipend was reportedly paid to Dean Luke, Property and Procurement commissioner under the Schneider administration, the Independent quoted Biggs as saying at the hearing.
In June 1998 Luke released $5 million in contracts, but when Biggs took over in January, he said he found that the $5 million didn’t exist. Contractors stopped work, leaving some roofs only partially completed and other still waiting.
Charles Bornman, the project manager, said no further work will be contracted until funds are identified, according to the Independent. He did say the contractors should be paid within the next two weeks. According to Bornman, he is also waiting for
a check.
Biggs’ assessment that the program is a good one was supported by Sen. George Goodwin, chairman of the Housing Parks and Recreation committee, and Sen. Judy Gomez.
Gomez said it needs to be monitored and managed correctly. Goodwin said with predictions of another potentially dangerous hurricane season ahead, it makes sense to maintain the program.

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