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HomeNewsArchivesGOOD FINANCIAL NEWS FOR V.I. ON Y2K

GOOD FINANCIAL NEWS FOR V.I. ON Y2K

Delegate Donna Christian-Christiansen and Director of Insular Affairs 'Danny' Aranza.
There was good financial news for the territory Friday from the Interior Department in Washington.
After a protracted battle with Congress, the department's Office of Insular Affairs has wrested more than $16 million from funds earmarked for federal Y2K compliance to assist some Virgin Islands government agencies in updating their computer systems.
The announcement was made by OIA director Ferdinand Aranza.
Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen praised Aranza in a press teleconference Friday afternoon, saying his creative approach captured the money for the territory.
Initially, the federal Office of Management and Budget refused to fund Y2K programs for the territories, Christiansen said. But Aranza pressed the point that the U.S. government had paid originally for the equipment; that became the basis for the funding.
The $16,103,276 in federal funds can be used to replace or repair computer systems in seven agencies, including:
– Health Department.
– Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
– Juan F. Luis Hospital.
– Public Safety.
– Justice Department.
– Finance Department.
– Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In February the Legislature approved a $32.4 million loan to fund the government's Y2K upgrades. Any money already spent on approved systems can be reimbursed from the federal funds.
But the message came through loud and clear Friday that this is a "very special set of funds …with very stringent conditions."
According to Aranza, there will be tight controls by OIA consultants "on the ground" to monitor how the funds are spent. Enterprise Solutions Group Inc. has been retained by OIA, with separate funds, to provide the oversight.
Christiansen could not say how much of the $32.4 million was eligible for reimbursement. She also didn't know if the federal money could be used for any other purposes.
"I'm not sure what the terms of the borrowing were," she said. "I'm not sure if it was limited to that [Y2K compliance]."
Aranza credited Christiansen and the White House for helping him with the initiative.
"I am especially pleased," he said, "that OIA seized the opportunity to work with the White House, the governor and the delegate early this year to help solve a major problem in all of the islands before it damaged the local economies or interfered with their ability to govern."

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Delegate Donna Christian-Christiansen and Director of Insular Affairs 'Danny' Aranza.
There was good financial news for the territory Friday from the Interior Department in Washington.
After a protracted battle with Congress, the department's Office of Insular Affairs has wrested more than $16 million from funds earmarked for federal Y2K compliance to assist some Virgin Islands government agencies in updating their computer systems.
The announcement was made by OIA director Ferdinand Aranza.
Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen praised Aranza in a press teleconference Friday afternoon, saying his creative approach captured the money for the territory.
Initially, the federal Office of Management and Budget refused to fund Y2K programs for the territories, Christiansen said. But Aranza pressed the point that the U.S. government had paid originally for the equipment; that became the basis for the funding.
The $16,103,276 in federal funds can be used to replace or repair computer systems in seven agencies, including:
– Health Department.
– Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
– Juan F. Luis Hospital.
– Public Safety.
– Justice Department.
– Finance Department.
– Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In February the Legislature approved a $32.4 million loan to fund the government's Y2K upgrades. Any money already spent on approved systems can be reimbursed from the federal funds.
But the message came through loud and clear Friday that this is a "very special set of funds ...with very stringent conditions."
According to Aranza, there will be tight controls by OIA consultants "on the ground" to monitor how the funds are spent. Enterprise Solutions Group Inc. has been retained by OIA, with separate funds, to provide the oversight.
Christiansen could not say how much of the $32.4 million was eligible for reimbursement. She also didn't know if the federal money could be used for any other purposes.
"I'm not sure what the terms of the borrowing were," she said. "I'm not sure if it was limited to that [Y2K compliance]."
Aranza credited Christiansen and the White House for helping him with the initiative.
"I am especially pleased," he said, "that OIA seized the opportunity to work with the White House, the governor and the delegate early this year to help solve a major problem in all of the islands before it damaged the local economies or interfered with their ability to govern."