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HomeNewsArchivesFINANCE COMMITTEE OKS $7.7M FOR SEWAGE SYSTEMS

FINANCE COMMITTEE OKS $7.7M FOR SEWAGE SYSTEMS

Nov. 16, 2001 – Spurred perhaps by a federal judge's anger over how the V.I. government has mismanaged the territory's problem-plagued sewage systems, the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday appropriated $7.7 million that is intended to solve the crisis.
The amount consists of $4.7 million appropriated first to upgrade the wastewater collection system on St. Croix plus $3 million later amended to the appropriation to make repairs to the airport lagoon wastewater treatment plant on St. Thomas.
Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood told the committee it will cost $60 million to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secondary treatment standards. The plant currently is a primary treatment facility. He said it will cost $3 million "just to bring the plant into compliance."
"Unfortunately, we don't have the funds to deal with that," Callwood said.
On Oct. 19, District Court Judge Thomas Moore called top V.I. government officials, including Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, to a contempt-of-court hearing to discuss why they had not done more to comply with a decades-old consent decree aimed at getting the ailing sewage systems fixed.
At the hearing, Turnbull said he had allocated $4.4 million from the Anti-Litter and Beautification Fund for sewage system repairs. That allocation, however, came only after Moore issued a scathing order calling Turnbull and his top advisers into court.
On Thursday, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Finance Committee chair, said the $7.7 million would come from funds that had been earmarked as payment on the territory's Hurricane Hugo disaster loan. That loan was forgiven by the federal government earlier this month. The appropriation was approved by Hansen and Sens. Douglas Canton, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Carlton Dowe and Norman Jn Baptiste. Sens. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg and Norma Pickard-Samuel were absent.
In other action, the committee approved a $5 million appropriation for the Juan F. Luis Hospital. The move comes several weeks after hospital administrators said they would have to cut the number of beds and cut back other services because of budget and staffing shortfalls. The appropriation, which Hansen said will likely be heard Tuesday when the full Senate meets, is to hire more nurses and technicians.
The committee also voted to transfer maintenance of the territory's streetlights from the Public Works Department to the Water and Power Authority. The committee approved $2.7 million to fund the transfer, $680,000 of it to come from the Anti-litter and Beautification Fund and the balance, from the General Fund.

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Nov. 16, 2001 - Spurred perhaps by a federal judge's anger over how the V.I. government has mismanaged the territory's problem-plagued sewage systems, the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday appropriated $7.7 million that is intended to solve the crisis.
The amount consists of $4.7 million appropriated first to upgrade the wastewater collection system on St. Croix plus $3 million later amended to the appropriation to make repairs to the airport lagoon wastewater treatment plant on St. Thomas.
Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood told the committee it will cost $60 million to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secondary treatment standards. The plant currently is a primary treatment facility. He said it will cost $3 million "just to bring the plant into compliance."
"Unfortunately, we don't have the funds to deal with that," Callwood said.
On Oct. 19, District Court Judge Thomas Moore called top V.I. government officials, including Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, to a contempt-of-court hearing to discuss why they had not done more to comply with a decades-old consent decree aimed at getting the ailing sewage systems fixed.
At the hearing, Turnbull said he had allocated $4.4 million from the Anti-Litter and Beautification Fund for sewage system repairs. That allocation, however, came only after Moore issued a scathing order calling Turnbull and his top advisers into court.
On Thursday, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Finance Committee chair, said the $7.7 million would come from funds that had been earmarked as payment on the territory's Hurricane Hugo disaster loan. That loan was forgiven by the federal government earlier this month. The appropriation was approved by Hansen and Sens. Douglas Canton, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Carlton Dowe and Norman Jn Baptiste. Sens. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg and Norma Pickard-Samuel were absent.
In other action, the committee approved a $5 million appropriation for the Juan F. Luis Hospital. The move comes several weeks after hospital administrators said they would have to cut the number of beds and cut back other services because of budget and staffing shortfalls. The appropriation, which Hansen said will likely be heard Tuesday when the full Senate meets, is to hire more nurses and technicians.
The committee also voted to transfer maintenance of the territory's streetlights from the Public Works Department to the Water and Power Authority. The committee approved $2.7 million to fund the transfer, $680,000 of it to come from the Anti-litter and Beautification Fund and the balance, from the General Fund.