July 18, 2008 — The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday considered the Department of Finance's proposed budget of $10.6 million for fiscal year 2009. This represents a decrease of $3.9 million, more than 25 percent below fiscal year 2008's spending level of $14.4 million.
Of the total, $7.4 million would come from the V.I. government's General Fund. Another $3 million is to come from the miscellaneous section of the budget. Finance also expects more than $2.3 million in federal reimbursement for indirect costs of providing services to the federal government, such as writing checks on behalf of federal agencies.
Finance oversees the government's revenue collections except for tax revenues. Management and Budget allocates the funds and sets the budget recommendations, but Finance actually writes the checks.
The V.I. government is in the process of changing from its old financial management system to a digitized, nearly real-time integrated financial management system called Enterprise Resource Planning System or ERP. Finance oversees both systems and is managing the switch.
Finance Commissioner Claudette Watson-Anderson said implementing the ERP is one of the department's biggest challenges. Starting in January, tracking government payroll and issuing paychecks will switch over to the new ERP, bringing the V.I. government a major step closer to real-time tracking of government finances, Anderson said.
No votes were taken at the hearing. Present were Sens. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Liston A. Davis, Neville James, James Weber III and Juan Figueroa-Serville.
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