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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBILL MODIFYING 911 TAX COLLECTION CLEARS PANEL

BILL MODIFYING 911 TAX COLLECTION CLEARS PANEL

The Senate Finance Committee has approved what was described as corrective legislation to modify a portion of the Fiscal Year 2000 Omnibus Bill regarding the collection and processing of the territory's new 911 emergency services tax by the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp.
Beginning with their April bills, telephone customers found the $1 tax added to their statement summaries. The proceeds are earmarked for use by the Health and Police Departments and Fire Services to acquire equipment and supplies necessary to provide and improve emergency services. Vitelco is mandated by law to collect the tax on behalf of the government and to transfer the collected revenues to the government's Emergency Services Special Fund on a specified schedule.
The law provides for the phone company "to deduct certain administrative costs for the implementation, collection and disbursement of the emergency services surcharge" from the revenues it collects. However, Vitelco president Samuel Ebbesen wrote to the governor earlier this year saying the company would absorb the administrative costs.
The bill passed by the Finance Committee and sent to the Rules Committee Tuesday would delete the provision for Vitelco to deduce the administrative costs. Introduced by Senate president Vargrave Richards on behalf of Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, it also would make other changes in the current law:
– A reference to 911 equipment would be changed to "services and equipment." This, Vitelco spokeswoman Katrina White-Comissiong said, was because the law now does not provide for payment of line charges for 911 emergency services."
– The timeline for remittance, which now reads "within 15 days of collection," would be changed to "on a monthly basis in accordance with the billing and collection procedures" of the phone company.
Comissiong said the proposed revisions are "based on our request." When the Omnibus Bill was being put together, "in the consideration of that particular measure Vitelco was never contacted," she said, "and there were some things in it that were never administratively possible to do. This bill is corrective legislation to deal with those situations."

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The Senate Finance Committee has approved what was described as corrective legislation to modify a portion of the Fiscal Year 2000 Omnibus Bill regarding the collection and processing of the territory's new 911 emergency services tax by the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp.
Beginning with their April bills, telephone customers found the $1 tax added to their statement summaries. The proceeds are earmarked for use by the Health and Police Departments and Fire Services to acquire equipment and supplies necessary to provide and improve emergency services. Vitelco is mandated by law to collect the tax on behalf of the government and to transfer the collected revenues to the government's Emergency Services Special Fund on a specified schedule.
The law provides for the phone company "to deduct certain administrative costs for the implementation, collection and disbursement of the emergency services surcharge" from the revenues it collects. However, Vitelco president Samuel Ebbesen wrote to the governor earlier this year saying the company would absorb the administrative costs.
The bill passed by the Finance Committee and sent to the Rules Committee Tuesday would delete the provision for Vitelco to deduce the administrative costs. Introduced by Senate president Vargrave Richards on behalf of Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, it also would make other changes in the current law:
- A reference to 911 equipment would be changed to "services and equipment." This, Vitelco spokeswoman Katrina White-Comissiong said, was because the law now does not provide for payment of line charges for 911 emergency services."
- The timeline for remittance, which now reads "within 15 days of collection," would be changed to "on a monthly basis in accordance with the billing and collection procedures" of the phone company.
Comissiong said the proposed revisions are "based on our request." When the Omnibus Bill was being put together, "in the consideration of that particular measure Vitelco was never contacted," she said, "and there were some things in it that were never administratively possible to do. This bill is corrective legislation to deal with those situations."