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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Agencies Start Testifying for 2014 Budgets

Senate budget hearings got under way in earnest Thursday, with three departments and agencies – Planning and Natural Resources; Management and Budget; and the Board of Nurse Licensure – presenting their budget requests, reporting on their activities and answering senators’ questions.

Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes testified to the Finance Committee about the many operations of DPNR, from environmental enforcement activities to the recent opening of the new Charles W. Turnbull Library on St. Thomas.

The Office of Management and Budget has recommended a General Fund appropriation of $7.2 million for 2014, a decline of $379,000 or 5 percent from the 2013 funding level. DPNR is also slated to receive $372,000 from the miscellaneous section of the V.I. budget.

Anticipated federal funds total $13.5 million – up $2 million from 2013. And nonappropriated local funds from construction permits, Coastal Zone Management permits and other fees and fines are expected to contribute $3.6 million, for total funding of $24.5 million – up $1.4 million from 2013.

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Wages and salaries comprise $11.5 million of the budget, while Social Security and Medicare taxes, and other items categorized as fringe benefits, comprise $3.99 million. "Other services and charges" comprise $6.7 million and utilities another $832,000.

DPNR has 11 divisions, overseeing a wide range of functions, from promoting the arts to permitting construction. Those divisions are:
– archeology and historic preservation;
– business and administrative services;
– building permits;
– coastal zone management;
– comprehensive and coastal zone planning;
– environmental enforcement;
– environmental protection;
– fish and wildlife;
– libraries, archives and museums;
– V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute;
– and V.I. Council on the Arts.

The budget makers got to defend their own budget Thursday as well, with the Office of Management and Budget testifying for its $3.8 million proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The total budget is roughly $100,000 less than 2013 and $300,000 less than FY12.

The FY14 budget includes $2.1 million from the General Fund and $1.7 million from the Indirect Cost Fund, which consists of federal payments for local government services. The General Fund budget funds 22 filled and two vacant positions, with $1.3 million in salaries and wages; $478,000 in benefits; $155,000 in other services and charges, and $71,000 for utilities. The Indirect Cost Fund will fund 13 positions, for $686,000 in wages in salaries; $257,000 for benefits; $476,000 for other services and charges; and $79,000 for utilities.

Also testifying Wednesday was Cynthia Stapleton, chairwoman of the V.I. Board of Nursing Licensure, who addressed her board’s budget. The Board of Nursing Licensure is responsible for promoting policies and standards for nursing education, practice and discipline in the territory and oversees the licensing of nurses in the territory.

Among its activities over the year, the board renewed or issued new licenses to 352 registered nurses, 415 certified nursing assistants, 126 licensed practical nurses and 18 advanced practice registered nurses. The board held eight CNA exams, with three on St. Croix and five on St. Thomas, Stapleton said.

Over the next year, she said the Nursing Licensure board hopes to hire a full time data entry operator and a systems analyst for its website and to handle receipt of electronic information required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Stapleton presented a FY14 budget request for the board of $475,000 for salaries and benefits for seven full time employees – a request $170,000 more than the $305,000 budget recommendation from the Office of Management and Budget but only $2,500 more than the 2013 appropriation.

The board requests $255,000 for the Nurse Licensure Revolving Fund for operating expenses, slightly more than the $253,000 recommended by OMB. The Nurse Licensure Revolving Fund consists of the licensing fees collected by the board. The board’s total budget request is for $730,000, while the total recommended budget from OMB is $558,000.

No votes were taken at the information gathering budget hearing.

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Senate budget hearings got under way in earnest Thursday, with three departments and agencies – Planning and Natural Resources; Management and Budget; and the Board of Nurse Licensure – presenting their budget requests, reporting on their activities and answering senators’ questions.

Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes testified to the Finance Committee about the many operations of DPNR, from environmental enforcement activities to the recent opening of the new Charles W. Turnbull Library on St. Thomas.

The Office of Management and Budget has recommended a General Fund appropriation of $7.2 million for 2014, a decline of $379,000 or 5 percent from the 2013 funding level. DPNR is also slated to receive $372,000 from the miscellaneous section of the V.I. budget.

Anticipated federal funds total $13.5 million – up $2 million from 2013. And nonappropriated local funds from construction permits, Coastal Zone Management permits and other fees and fines are expected to contribute $3.6 million, for total funding of $24.5 million – up $1.4 million from 2013.

Wages and salaries comprise $11.5 million of the budget, while Social Security and Medicare taxes, and other items categorized as fringe benefits, comprise $3.99 million. "Other services and charges" comprise $6.7 million and utilities another $832,000.

DPNR has 11 divisions, overseeing a wide range of functions, from promoting the arts to permitting construction. Those divisions are:
- archeology and historic preservation;
- business and administrative services;
- building permits;
- coastal zone management;
- comprehensive and coastal zone planning;
- environmental enforcement;
- environmental protection;
- fish and wildlife;
- libraries, archives and museums;
- V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute;
- and V.I. Council on the Arts.

The budget makers got to defend their own budget Thursday as well, with the Office of Management and Budget testifying for its $3.8 million proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The total budget is roughly $100,000 less than 2013 and $300,000 less than FY12.

The FY14 budget includes $2.1 million from the General Fund and $1.7 million from the Indirect Cost Fund, which consists of federal payments for local government services. The General Fund budget funds 22 filled and two vacant positions, with $1.3 million in salaries and wages; $478,000 in benefits; $155,000 in other services and charges, and $71,000 for utilities. The Indirect Cost Fund will fund 13 positions, for $686,000 in wages in salaries; $257,000 for benefits; $476,000 for other services and charges; and $79,000 for utilities.

Also testifying Wednesday was Cynthia Stapleton, chairwoman of the V.I. Board of Nursing Licensure, who addressed her board’s budget. The Board of Nursing Licensure is responsible for promoting policies and standards for nursing education, practice and discipline in the territory and oversees the licensing of nurses in the territory.

Among its activities over the year, the board renewed or issued new licenses to 352 registered nurses, 415 certified nursing assistants, 126 licensed practical nurses and 18 advanced practice registered nurses. The board held eight CNA exams, with three on St. Croix and five on St. Thomas, Stapleton said.

Over the next year, she said the Nursing Licensure board hopes to hire a full time data entry operator and a systems analyst for its website and to handle receipt of electronic information required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Stapleton presented a FY14 budget request for the board of $475,000 for salaries and benefits for seven full time employees – a request $170,000 more than the $305,000 budget recommendation from the Office of Management and Budget but only $2,500 more than the 2013 appropriation.

The board requests $255,000 for the Nurse Licensure Revolving Fund for operating expenses, slightly more than the $253,000 recommended by OMB. The Nurse Licensure Revolving Fund consists of the licensing fees collected by the board. The board's total budget request is for $730,000, while the total recommended budget from OMB is $558,000.

No votes were taken at the information gathering budget hearing.