82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, June 25, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSenators Urge OMB to Help Stem Expenditures

Senators Urge OMB to Help Stem Expenditures

Senators had no qualms Wednesday with the Office of Management and Budget’s approximately $4.7 million overall budget request, but spent a couple hours in a back in forth with officials over how the government can effectively cut down on its costs and increase future revenues.
The government is suffering from a "significant" cash flow shortfall this fiscal year, and is expected to end up — after bonds are floated and money is borrowed from the bank — about $12 million in the hole, according to OMB Director Debra Gottlieb. Money will also be tight in FY 2010, and members of the Appropriations and Budget Committee suggested Wednesday that the government try everything from increasing its tourism initiatives to collecting on some outstanding debts.
"I know you want to see results, and we’re working in that direction, but it takes time," Gottlieb said after Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe asked why the government is still collecting the millions of dollars in dishonored checks that were the subject of a 2008 audit conducted by the V.I. Inspector General’s Office.
Gottlieb said when faced with the looming fiscal crisis, government officials tried to make the "best decisions" and had to bridge the two-year funding gap by floating bonds and borrowing money. But they’ve also made it clear that government can’t continue to operate on a "business as usual" mentality, but must rather look at ways to tap in to new revenue streams and control operations by "running more effectively," she added.
And OMB has laid the ground work for that with its performance based budgeting (PBB) initiative, which is geared toward determining what "works and what doesn’t" in each department and agency, which includes looking at how well money is being spent, she said. In FY 2008, OMB’s evaluating and reporting workshop for commissioners, program managers and fiscal personnel, helped train 348 government employees, Gottlieb said. Strategic management workshops were also held for the 11 government agencies – OMB, Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, Justice, Tourism, Human Services, Agriculture, Labor, Property and Procurement, Public Works, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Fire Services — in the PBB pilot program.
All remaining departments received the same training a few months ago, are now involved in the program, and are required, beginning in October, to send quarterly and annual performance reports to the Legislature. A website is also being developed that would keep officials updated on the progress of each agency’s performance budget, Gottlieb said.
"We will get there," Gottlieb said. "We will turn around this government and we will be proud of our performance."
Senators suggested that entities that are "sucking" government funds and not turning out anything productive should be cut off.
OMB’s FY 2010 budget request includes $2.6 million from the General Fund and a little more than $2 million from the Indirect Cost Fund. The agency’s FY 2009 budget included approximately $3 million from the General Fund, $2.7 million from the Indirect Cost Fund and about $7 million in federal funds, for a total $12.8 million.
From OMB’s recommended FY 2010 General Fund amount, about $1.5 million will go toward personnel costs for 29 positions, $572,882 toward fringe benefits, $50,000 toward capital outlay, $50,000 toward supplies and $100,594 for utilities.
Gottlieb also highlighted some of the major appropriations factored into the $114.4 million miscellaneous section of the budget, which includes: $19.6 million for retiree health insurance; $7.5 million for already negotiated salary increases; $3.3 million for the third-party fiduciary; $1.5 million for inter-island ferry subsidies; and $700,000 for the University of the Virgin Islands Tech Park.
Present during Wednesday’s meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Dowe, Neville James, Wayne James, Sammuel Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

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
4,755FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
20 minutes ago
Virgin Islands Source

St. Croix Energy Statement Questions Integrity of Limetree Bankruptcy Auction

Read Full Story: stcroixsource.com/2022/06/25/322938/

📸: Limetree Bay Refinery sprawls along STX south shore in this aerial shot. (Source photo by Linda Morland)

#visource #thesource #usvi #news #LocalNews
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Why are we surprised at anything here in USVI?

Load more

Senators had no qualms Wednesday with the Office of Management and Budget's approximately $4.7 million overall budget request, but spent a couple hours in a back in forth with officials over how the government can effectively cut down on its costs and increase future revenues.
The government is suffering from a "significant" cash flow shortfall this fiscal year, and is expected to end up -- after bonds are floated and money is borrowed from the bank -- about $12 million in the hole, according to OMB Director Debra Gottlieb. Money will also be tight in FY 2010, and members of the Appropriations and Budget Committee suggested Wednesday that the government try everything from increasing its tourism initiatives to collecting on some outstanding debts.
"I know you want to see results, and we're working in that direction, but it takes time," Gottlieb said after Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe asked why the government is still collecting the millions of dollars in dishonored checks that were the subject of a 2008 audit conducted by the V.I. Inspector General's Office.
Gottlieb said when faced with the looming fiscal crisis, government officials tried to make the "best decisions" and had to bridge the two-year funding gap by floating bonds and borrowing money. But they've also made it clear that government can't continue to operate on a "business as usual" mentality, but must rather look at ways to tap in to new revenue streams and control operations by "running more effectively," she added.
And OMB has laid the ground work for that with its performance based budgeting (PBB) initiative, which is geared toward determining what "works and what doesn't" in each department and agency, which includes looking at how well money is being spent, she said. In FY 2008, OMB's evaluating and reporting workshop for commissioners, program managers and fiscal personnel, helped train 348 government employees, Gottlieb said. Strategic management workshops were also held for the 11 government agencies – OMB, Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, Justice, Tourism, Human Services, Agriculture, Labor, Property and Procurement, Public Works, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Fire Services -- in the PBB pilot program.
All remaining departments received the same training a few months ago, are now involved in the program, and are required, beginning in October, to send quarterly and annual performance reports to the Legislature. A website is also being developed that would keep officials updated on the progress of each agency's performance budget, Gottlieb said.
"We will get there," Gottlieb said. "We will turn around this government and we will be proud of our performance."
Senators suggested that entities that are "sucking" government funds and not turning out anything productive should be cut off.
OMB's FY 2010 budget request includes $2.6 million from the General Fund and a little more than $2 million from the Indirect Cost Fund. The agency's FY 2009 budget included approximately $3 million from the General Fund, $2.7 million from the Indirect Cost Fund and about $7 million in federal funds, for a total $12.8 million.
From OMB's recommended FY 2010 General Fund amount, about $1.5 million will go toward personnel costs for 29 positions, $572,882 toward fringe benefits, $50,000 toward capital outlay, $50,000 toward supplies and $100,594 for utilities.
Gottlieb also highlighted some of the major appropriations factored into the $114.4 million miscellaneous section of the budget, which includes: $19.6 million for retiree health insurance; $7.5 million for already negotiated salary increases; $3.3 million for the third-party fiduciary; $1.5 million for inter-island ferry subsidies; and $700,000 for the University of the Virgin Islands Tech Park.
Present during Wednesday's meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Dowe, Neville James, Wayne James, Sammuel Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.