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HomeNewsArchivesFY 2011 Budget Bills Clear First Round in Senate

FY 2011 Budget Bills Clear First Round in Senate

Emerging Monday from a less-than-weeklong markup process, senators pushed through committee Monday all the fiscal year 2011 budget bills, including a slightly higher General Fund budget that’s expected to total approximately $831 million once all expenses are factored in.
What passed through committee Monday did not include the budget for the V.I. Legislature but did cover the central government departments and agencies, University of the Virgin Islands, V.I. Waste Management Authority, WTJX Channel 12 and the judicial branch.
Committee chairman Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe said most of the figures mirror what was included in the revised budget submitted by the governor earlier this month, save a few specific line items and an $800,000 addition to the Justice Department’s budget to pay a court judgment.
While most of the additions were presented Monday, senators did say a few more amendments were coming in this week’s Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting.
Otherwise, Dowe said senators focused on "touching people’s lives" with the budget, specifically by adding in appropriations for "bread and butter" issues, such as new lifeguards for Housing, Parks and Recreation, firefighting equipment, new grant writers for the Office of Management and Budget and summer employment money for the territory’s two hospitals.
A few new items were also added into the miscellaneous section of the budget, which — as of Monday’s count — totals approximately $112.5 million. Along with money for the V.I. Olympic Committee and more cash for Human Services’ energy crisis program, appropriations were factored in for youth and sports programs, along with specific issues, such as covering lump-sum payments given to legislative employees after they leave their jobs.
A good chunk of the budget bills also help support projected expenses by making contributions from the various government funds into the General Fund, or from revolving funds that, by law, provide money each year to specific departments and agencies. Some of the revolving funds also receive contributions from the General Fund to cover these proscribed costs, but officials said early on that some of the transfers out would be cut back in order to keep as much in the General Fund as possible.
Many senators lamented some of the cutbacks during Monday’s Appropriations and Budget Committee meeting, saying they wished they could give more to agencies such as the Public Employees’ Relations Board (PERB), whose representatives came in during budget hearings requesting more money than what was recommended by the government.
Others, such as Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, spoke out against a bill that cut the contribution into the Agriculture Revolving Fund from the General Fund, saying that the drop down to $250,000 slashes the resources made available to a "critical" government department.
Later in the meeting, however, Sen. Sammuel Sanes explained that the cut was agreed upon by Agriculture Department officials and is partially made up in other sections of the budget.
Some agencies, such as the Public Services Commission, did, however, get more than what they requested. PSC members came in early last month with a request that was approximately $200,000 more than the $1.5 million proposed by the government.
At the time, it was said the extra money would cover salary increases, along with some office and technology repairs. Senators responded to the concerns by passing a $1.8 million budget, which is funded through the fees it assesses on the utilities it regulates.
While senators said they were, in many cases, doing what they thought was necessary to keep the government running, some also mentioned they wanted certain agencies, such as the V.I. Waste Management Authority, to streamline operations and concentrate on things like setting up a "real" recycling program for the territory.
The budget bills will now make their way onto the Rules and Judiciary Committee, then to the full Senate for approval before heading to the governor’s desk.
FY 2011 budget bills approved Monday:
-appropriate $3.8 million from the Anti-litter and Beautification Fund to the Waste Management Authority;
-appropriate $3 million from the Sewage System Fund to the Waste Management Authority to fund operating expenses including maintenance, supplies, machinery and equipment;
– appropriate $1 million from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles from operating expenses;
-appropriate $1.7 million to Property and Procurement for the administration of the Commercial Properties Revolving Fund;
-appropriate $9 million from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund as a contribution to the General Fund for FY 2011;
-appropriate $3 million from the Government Insurance Fund to cover operations for the Finance Department’s Office of the Custodian;
-appropriate $3.9 million from the Health Revolving Fund to the Health Department;
-appropriate $5.1 million from the Indirect Cost Fund to the Office of Management and Budget, Personnel, Finance Department and Property and Procurement;
-appropriate $1 million from the Interest Revenue Fund as a contribution to the General Fund;
-appropriate $70 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund as a contribution to the General Fund, along with paying interest and principal on three separate government bond issues;
-appropriate $881,424 to PERB and $165,000 to the Labor Management Committee from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees’ Increment Fund for FY 2011 expenses;
-appropriate $1.8 million to the PSC from the Public Services Commission Revolving Fund for FY 2011 operating expenses (senators will also be passing an amendment in Rules that lifts the cap on the fund, which currently allows the PSC to draw down no more than $1.5 million for operating expenses);
-appropriate $2.2 million from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund for traveler exit surveys, police operations on all three islands, and various festivals and cleanups;
– appropriate $14 million from the Transportation Trust Fund as a contribution to the General Fund;
-appropriate $625,534 from the Taxi License Fund to the V.I. Taxicab Commission for operating expenses; and
– reducing to $250,000 the contribution to the Agriculture Revolving Fund from the General Fund.
Present during Monday’s meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Dowe, Louis P. Hill, Wayne James, Nelson, Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

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Emerging Monday from a less-than-weeklong markup process, senators pushed through committee Monday all the fiscal year 2011 budget bills, including a slightly higher General Fund budget that's expected to total approximately $831 million once all expenses are factored in.
What passed through committee Monday did not include the budget for the V.I. Legislature but did cover the central government departments and agencies, University of the Virgin Islands, V.I. Waste Management Authority, WTJX Channel 12 and the judicial branch.
Committee chairman Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe said most of the figures mirror what was included in the revised budget submitted by the governor earlier this month, save a few specific line items and an $800,000 addition to the Justice Department's budget to pay a court judgment.
While most of the additions were presented Monday, senators did say a few more amendments were coming in this week's Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting.
Otherwise, Dowe said senators focused on "touching people's lives" with the budget, specifically by adding in appropriations for "bread and butter" issues, such as new lifeguards for Housing, Parks and Recreation, firefighting equipment, new grant writers for the Office of Management and Budget and summer employment money for the territory's two hospitals.
A few new items were also added into the miscellaneous section of the budget, which -- as of Monday's count -- totals approximately $112.5 million. Along with money for the V.I. Olympic Committee and more cash for Human Services' energy crisis program, appropriations were factored in for youth and sports programs, along with specific issues, such as covering lump-sum payments given to legislative employees after they leave their jobs.
A good chunk of the budget bills also help support projected expenses by making contributions from the various government funds into the General Fund, or from revolving funds that, by law, provide money each year to specific departments and agencies. Some of the revolving funds also receive contributions from the General Fund to cover these proscribed costs, but officials said early on that some of the transfers out would be cut back in order to keep as much in the General Fund as possible.
Many senators lamented some of the cutbacks during Monday's Appropriations and Budget Committee meeting, saying they wished they could give more to agencies such as the Public Employees' Relations Board (PERB), whose representatives came in during budget hearings requesting more money than what was recommended by the government.
Others, such as Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, spoke out against a bill that cut the contribution into the Agriculture Revolving Fund from the General Fund, saying that the drop down to $250,000 slashes the resources made available to a "critical" government department.
Later in the meeting, however, Sen. Sammuel Sanes explained that the cut was agreed upon by Agriculture Department officials and is partially made up in other sections of the budget.
Some agencies, such as the Public Services Commission, did, however, get more than what they requested. PSC members came in early last month with a request that was approximately $200,000 more than the $1.5 million proposed by the government.
At the time, it was said the extra money would cover salary increases, along with some office and technology repairs. Senators responded to the concerns by passing a $1.8 million budget, which is funded through the fees it assesses on the utilities it regulates.
While senators said they were, in many cases, doing what they thought was necessary to keep the government running, some also mentioned they wanted certain agencies, such as the V.I. Waste Management Authority, to streamline operations and concentrate on things like setting up a "real" recycling program for the territory.
The budget bills will now make their way onto the Rules and Judiciary Committee, then to the full Senate for approval before heading to the governor's desk.
FY 2011 budget bills approved Monday:
-appropriate $3.8 million from the Anti-litter and Beautification Fund to the Waste Management Authority;
-appropriate $3 million from the Sewage System Fund to the Waste Management Authority to fund operating expenses including maintenance, supplies, machinery and equipment;
- appropriate $1 million from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles from operating expenses;
-appropriate $1.7 million to Property and Procurement for the administration of the Commercial Properties Revolving Fund;
-appropriate $9 million from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund as a contribution to the General Fund for FY 2011;
-appropriate $3 million from the Government Insurance Fund to cover operations for the Finance Department's Office of the Custodian;
-appropriate $3.9 million from the Health Revolving Fund to the Health Department;
-appropriate $5.1 million from the Indirect Cost Fund to the Office of Management and Budget, Personnel, Finance Department and Property and Procurement;
-appropriate $1 million from the Interest Revenue Fund as a contribution to the General Fund;
-appropriate $70 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund as a contribution to the General Fund, along with paying interest and principal on three separate government bond issues;
-appropriate $881,424 to PERB and $165,000 to the Labor Management Committee from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees' Increment Fund for FY 2011 expenses;
-appropriate $1.8 million to the PSC from the Public Services Commission Revolving Fund for FY 2011 operating expenses (senators will also be passing an amendment in Rules that lifts the cap on the fund, which currently allows the PSC to draw down no more than $1.5 million for operating expenses);
-appropriate $2.2 million from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund for traveler exit surveys, police operations on all three islands, and various festivals and cleanups;
- appropriate $14 million from the Transportation Trust Fund as a contribution to the General Fund;
-appropriate $625,534 from the Taxi License Fund to the V.I. Taxicab Commission for operating expenses; and
- reducing to $250,000 the contribution to the Agriculture Revolving Fund from the General Fund.
Present during Monday's meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Dowe, Louis P. Hill, Wayne James, Nelson, Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.