81.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSenate Committee OKs More Money for St. Croix Road and Drainage Work

Senate Committee OKs More Money for St. Croix Road and Drainage Work

Oct. 28, 2008 — The Senate Finance Committee on Monday approved a bill appropriating an additional $2.4 million for road and drainage work in St. Croix's Williams Delight neighborhood.
For decades the neighborhood, one of St. Croix's largest, has had severe drainage issues and badly rutted and eroded roads. The Legislature appropriated funds in 2005 for the work, and some drainage and road work in Williams Delight began around the end of January 2007. At the time, Assistant Commissioner of Public Works Roberto Cintron said the work in Williams Delight should take about nine months.
But work got delayed, in part due to the determination by the road-paving contractor, V.I. Asphalt and Paving Company, that substantial drainage work needed to be done or the contracted road work would quickly get destroyed by flooding and flowing water. Public Works and residents determined major drainage work needed to be done before the roadwork, raising the cost. Last month the Legislature appropriated a bit more than $5.3 million for the entire job.
Public Works Commissioner Daryl Smalls said Monday the current cost for the project is just under $7.8 million, leaving a shortfall of $2.4 million. Public Works can begin contracting the work as soon as the money is assured, but not until then. The job could be split into portions, but that would raise the total cost substantially, he said.
"Willams Delight is the largest community in St. Croix and it has been the most neglected," said Maudry Benjamin, secretary of the Williams Delight Homeowners Association. "We have craters in the roads. If you want to know what craters are, come down to Williams Delight. People, if you can't help us, why are you here?"
Voting yea were Sens. Liston A. Davis, Juan Figueroa-Serville, Ronald E. Russell, Neville A. James and Terrence "Positive" Nelson. Sens. Carlton "Ital" Dowe and James Weber III were absent. Next the bill will be considered by the Committee on Rules and Judiciary.
The Finance Committee also approved a bill Monday to dedicate all money in the Transportation Trust Fund to the Department of Public Works, which would give the department a predictable funding source. But in voting the bill out of committee it went against the recommendation of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Transportation Trust Fund is replenished by driver's fees and fines, to the tune of $15 to $18 million per year. Though originally dedicated toward roads, for complicated historical reasons the funds currently go into the government's General Fund. The funds give the government flexibility, said Debra E. Gottlieb, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
"While this legislation would reinstate the original intent of the Transportation Trust Fund," she said, "these contributions to the General Fund are of the utmost importance to sustaining the general operations of the government. The deposit in the General Fund allows the government to prioritize its spending."
Nelson, James and Weber questioned whether that distinction meant as much as Gottlieb argued.
"You could dedicate the entire amount to Public Works and you would still need another 12 million to make up your annual budget, wouldn't you? " James asked.
"Yes, senator," Smalls replied.
Voting yea were James, Figueroa-Serville, Davis, Russell, Nelson and Weber. Dow was absent.
In other business, the committee reviewed and approved a University of the Virgin Islands federal grant request and several other bills giving necessary legislative approval for grant requests and contract payments that did not involve any expense on the part of the V.I. government.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,753FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Oct. 28, 2008 -- The Senate Finance Committee on Monday approved a bill appropriating an additional $2.4 million for road and drainage work in St. Croix's Williams Delight neighborhood.
For decades the neighborhood, one of St. Croix's largest, has had severe drainage issues and badly rutted and eroded roads. The Legislature appropriated funds in 2005 for the work, and some drainage and road work in Williams Delight began around the end of January 2007. At the time, Assistant Commissioner of Public Works Roberto Cintron said the work in Williams Delight should take about nine months.
But work got delayed, in part due to the determination by the road-paving contractor, V.I. Asphalt and Paving Company, that substantial drainage work needed to be done or the contracted road work would quickly get destroyed by flooding and flowing water. Public Works and residents determined major drainage work needed to be done before the roadwork, raising the cost. Last month the Legislature appropriated a bit more than $5.3 million for the entire job.
Public Works Commissioner Daryl Smalls said Monday the current cost for the project is just under $7.8 million, leaving a shortfall of $2.4 million. Public Works can begin contracting the work as soon as the money is assured, but not until then. The job could be split into portions, but that would raise the total cost substantially, he said.
"Willams Delight is the largest community in St. Croix and it has been the most neglected," said Maudry Benjamin, secretary of the Williams Delight Homeowners Association. "We have craters in the roads. If you want to know what craters are, come down to Williams Delight. People, if you can't help us, why are you here?"
Voting yea were Sens. Liston A. Davis, Juan Figueroa-Serville, Ronald E. Russell, Neville A. James and Terrence "Positive" Nelson. Sens. Carlton "Ital" Dowe and James Weber III were absent. Next the bill will be considered by the Committee on Rules and Judiciary.
The Finance Committee also approved a bill Monday to dedicate all money in the Transportation Trust Fund to the Department of Public Works, which would give the department a predictable funding source. But in voting the bill out of committee it went against the recommendation of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Transportation Trust Fund is replenished by driver's fees and fines, to the tune of $15 to $18 million per year. Though originally dedicated toward roads, for complicated historical reasons the funds currently go into the government's General Fund. The funds give the government flexibility, said Debra E. Gottlieb, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
"While this legislation would reinstate the original intent of the Transportation Trust Fund," she said, "these contributions to the General Fund are of the utmost importance to sustaining the general operations of the government. The deposit in the General Fund allows the government to prioritize its spending."
Nelson, James and Weber questioned whether that distinction meant as much as Gottlieb argued.
"You could dedicate the entire amount to Public Works and you would still need another 12 million to make up your annual budget, wouldn't you? " James asked.
"Yes, senator," Smalls replied.
Voting yea were James, Figueroa-Serville, Davis, Russell, Nelson and Weber. Dow was absent.
In other business, the committee reviewed and approved a University of the Virgin Islands federal grant request and several other bills giving necessary legislative approval for grant requests and contract payments that did not involve any expense on the part of the V.I. government.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.