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Monday, July 4, 2022
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New 911 Centers Just Around the Corner



New 911 emergency call centers will begin to come online in a month, according to testimony by Mark Walters, acting director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), in budget hearings held Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

"The 911 Emergency Communications Center will be operational on St. Croix by the end of the month and for St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, by the beginning of the fiscal year," Walters said.

The new emergency call center will operate under VITEMA, moving it out of the police department. It will route all emergency communications, connecting to the police, the hospitals, VITEMA, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Services, as necessary.

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VITEMA is asking for $5.4 million from the General Fund. On top of that, VITEMA expects to receive $2.1 million in annual federal funds and a $1 million federal grant to help equip the new 911 call centers, Walters said.

In other action Monday, the Office of the Adjutant General, which oversees the V.I. National Guard, defended its 2010 budget request of $1.5 million.

In past years, VITEMA and the V.I. Office of Homeland Security were part of the Office of the Adjutant General, while this year, for the first time, they have been split off and operate alongside, but not directly under, the National Guard.

The V.I. National Guard is funded mostly with federal money. Lt. Col. Deborah Lobbenmeier, comptroller for the V.I. National Guard, said its total 2010 budget is $31.7 million, with roughly 99 percent coming from the federal government and one percent locally. The local funds are for purely local administrative functions and for matching funds needed to receive various federal funds, said Sylma Sablon-Williams, director of administration for the Office of the Adjutant General.

Also before the committee Monday was the V.I. Career and Technical Education Board, which has statutory oversight of all vocational education in the territory. The board is requesting $700,000. This is twice the board’s 2009 funding level of $350,000. Of the increase, $200,000 is to support the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center’s Craft Training Academy, said Daniel McIntosh, chairman of the board. That money will primarily go to help buy training aids, class materials and personal protective equipment for the vocational program’s 89 current and 40 new, incoming students, McIntosh said.

No votes were taken during this budget hearing, which was an information-gathering, oversight hearing in preparation for budget bills and debates to come.

Present at Monday’s hearing were Sens. Craig Barshinger, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Louis Hill, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Nereida "Rivera" O’Reilly, Usie Richards, Sammuel Sanes, Patrick Sprauve and Michael Thurland.

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New 911 emergency call centers will begin to come online in a month, according to testimony by Mark Walters, acting director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), in budget hearings held Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

"The 911 Emergency Communications Center will be operational on St. Croix by the end of the month and for St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, by the beginning of the fiscal year," Walters said.

The new emergency call center will operate under VITEMA, moving it out of the police department. It will route all emergency communications, connecting to the police, the hospitals, VITEMA, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Services, as necessary.

VITEMA is asking for $5.4 million from the General Fund. On top of that, VITEMA expects to receive $2.1 million in annual federal funds and a $1 million federal grant to help equip the new 911 call centers, Walters said.

In other action Monday, the Office of the Adjutant General, which oversees the V.I. National Guard, defended its 2010 budget request of $1.5 million.

In past years, VITEMA and the V.I. Office of Homeland Security were part of the Office of the Adjutant General, while this year, for the first time, they have been split off and operate alongside, but not directly under, the National Guard.

The V.I. National Guard is funded mostly with federal money. Lt. Col. Deborah Lobbenmeier, comptroller for the V.I. National Guard, said its total 2010 budget is $31.7 million, with roughly 99 percent coming from the federal government and one percent locally. The local funds are for purely local administrative functions and for matching funds needed to receive various federal funds, said Sylma Sablon-Williams, director of administration for the Office of the Adjutant General.

Also before the committee Monday was the V.I. Career and Technical Education Board, which has statutory oversight of all vocational education in the territory. The board is requesting $700,000. This is twice the board's 2009 funding level of $350,000. Of the increase, $200,000 is to support the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center’s Craft Training Academy, said Daniel McIntosh, chairman of the board. That money will primarily go to help buy training aids, class materials and personal protective equipment for the vocational program's 89 current and 40 new, incoming students, McIntosh said.

No votes were taken during this budget hearing, which was an information-gathering, oversight hearing in preparation for budget bills and debates to come.

Present at Monday's hearing were Sens. Craig Barshinger, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Louis Hill, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Nereida "Rivera" O'Reilly, Usie Richards, Sammuel Sanes, Patrick Sprauve and Michael Thurland.