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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesGovernor's Office Requests $9.5 Million Budget

Governor's Office Requests $9.5 Million Budget

Nellie Varlack, director of business and administration for the Governor’s Office, presented the executive office’s Fiscal Year 2014 General Fund budget request of $8.3 million – about $1.3 million less than last year.

“Our proposed budget reflects the continuing periods of global, economic, financial and fiscal uncertainty throughout the world and the necessary adjustments, sound judgment and fiscal responsibility required during these trying times,” Varlack said, asking the appropriation be granted as a lump sum so the office can move resources where needed.

Varlack highlighted some of the activities within the Governor’s Office over the last year, above and beyond overseeing all the executive agencies.

Within the office, the Health Reform Task Force appointed by Gov. John deJongh Jr. studied the prospect of establishing a Health Insurance Exchange – a government-supported marketplace for individual and group insurance policies. The task force, led by Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis, ultimately concluded that an Exchange was not a viable option for the Virgin Islands, prompting the governor’s decision to use federal funds to expand the territory’s Medicaid program, Varlack said.

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The Children and Family Council’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee submitted recommendations for implementation of public pre-kindergarten in the territory.

The Governor’s Office just launched its annual Governor’s Reading Challenge, and more children have taken the challenge to spend their summers reading than in any of the previous years, according to Varlack.

The office also funded renovations of sports facilities, including the Ralph de Chabert basketball court. It also collaborated with the Police Department in implementing the ShotSpotter system on St. Thomas and St. Croix, a state-of-the-art technology that will eventually enable law enforcement to respond to shooting scenes faster.

The Governor’s Office continues to make progress in improving the Virgin Islands relationship with its federal partners and meeting the demands of consent decrees involving the Police Department and the Bureau of Corrections, she said.

In May, deJongh submitted to the 30th Legislature a report from a pension reform task force he formed to study methods to safeguard the future viability of the public pension system, Varlack testified.

The total Governor’s Office budget request includes $150,000 from hotel tax revenue in the Tourism Revolving Fund and $1.2 million from the miscellaneous section of the budget, for total appropriations of $9.6 million. Nearly all of the miscellaneous funding – $1 million – is dedicated to costs related to the Hovensa closure, with the rest going to sponsor festivities associated with Emancipation, BVI/VI Friendship, VI/PR Friendship and similar occasions.

Personnel wages and salaries account for $4.4 million, and benefits, Social Security and Medicare taxes another $1.6 million of the budget. The other services and charges category includes $1.7 million in spending. Supplies account for another $183,000, and $47,000 for utilities.

The senators also heard testimony regarding the Bureau of Economic Research, with its director, Wharton Berger, presenting the BER’s budget request of $727,000 – $577,000 from the General Fund and $150,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund.

The Tourism Revolving Fund is replenished by the territory’s 8 percent hotel room occupancy tax.

Of that total budget request, $372,000 is dedicated to wages and salaries; $137,000 to benefits. A $117,000 contract,t o a company, Regional Economic Resources Group, that won the competitively bided contract to develop the 2012/2014 visitor exit survey, paid from the $150,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund, accounds for most of the rest of the budget.

The BER collects and compiles economic data such as territorial gross domestic product, the consumer price index and other data to help the government form policies.

Energy Office Director Karl Knight also presented his office’s budget request, which included $1.4 million from the General Fund and $487,000 in federal funds for an operating budget of $1.9 million.

Wages and salaries account for $1.4 million of the budget, with benefits and Medicare and Social Security taxes taking another $284,000. Other services and charges comprise $99,000 and utilities another $23,000.

No votes were taken during the information gathering hearing.

Editor’s note: The contract information above has been changed to correct the amount and recipient.

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Nellie Varlack, director of business and administration for the Governor’s Office, presented the executive office’s Fiscal Year 2014 General Fund budget request of $8.3 million – about $1.3 million less than last year.

“Our proposed budget reflects the continuing periods of global, economic, financial and fiscal uncertainty throughout the world and the necessary adjustments, sound judgment and fiscal responsibility required during these trying times,” Varlack said, asking the appropriation be granted as a lump sum so the office can move resources where needed.

Varlack highlighted some of the activities within the Governor’s Office over the last year, above and beyond overseeing all the executive agencies.

Within the office, the Health Reform Task Force appointed by Gov. John deJongh Jr. studied the prospect of establishing a Health Insurance Exchange – a government-supported marketplace for individual and group insurance policies. The task force, led by Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis, ultimately concluded that an Exchange was not a viable option for the Virgin Islands, prompting the governor’s decision to use federal funds to expand the territory’s Medicaid program, Varlack said.

The Children and Family Council’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee submitted recommendations for implementation of public pre-kindergarten in the territory.

The Governor’s Office just launched its annual Governor’s Reading Challenge, and more children have taken the challenge to spend their summers reading than in any of the previous years, according to Varlack.

The office also funded renovations of sports facilities, including the Ralph de Chabert basketball court. It also collaborated with the Police Department in implementing the ShotSpotter system on St. Thomas and St. Croix, a state-of-the-art technology that will eventually enable law enforcement to respond to shooting scenes faster.

The Governor’s Office continues to make progress in improving the Virgin Islands relationship with its federal partners and meeting the demands of consent decrees involving the Police Department and the Bureau of Corrections, she said.

In May, deJongh submitted to the 30th Legislature a report from a pension reform task force he formed to study methods to safeguard the future viability of the public pension system, Varlack testified.

The total Governor’s Office budget request includes $150,000 from hotel tax revenue in the Tourism Revolving Fund and $1.2 million from the miscellaneous section of the budget, for total appropriations of $9.6 million. Nearly all of the miscellaneous funding – $1 million – is dedicated to costs related to the Hovensa closure, with the rest going to sponsor festivities associated with Emancipation, BVI/VI Friendship, VI/PR Friendship and similar occasions.

Personnel wages and salaries account for $4.4 million, and benefits, Social Security and Medicare taxes another $1.6 million of the budget. The other services and charges category includes $1.7 million in spending. Supplies account for another $183,000, and $47,000 for utilities.

The senators also heard testimony regarding the Bureau of Economic Research, with its director, Wharton Berger, presenting the BER's budget request of $727,000 – $577,000 from the General Fund and $150,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund.

The Tourism Revolving Fund is replenished by the territory's 8 percent hotel room occupancy tax.

Of that total budget request, $372,000 is dedicated to wages and salaries; $137,000 to benefits. A $117,000 contract,t o a company, Regional Economic Resources Group, that won the competitively bided contract to develop the 2012/2014 visitor exit survey, paid from the $150,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund, accounds for most of the rest of the budget.

The BER collects and compiles economic data such as territorial gross domestic product, the consumer price index and other data to help the government form policies.

Energy Office Director Karl Knight also presented his office's budget request, which included $1.4 million from the General Fund and $487,000 in federal funds for an operating budget of $1.9 million.

Wages and salaries account for $1.4 million of the budget, with benefits and Medicare and Social Security taxes taking another $284,000. Other services and charges comprise $99,000 and utilities another $23,000.

No votes were taken during the information gathering hearing.


Editor's note: The contract information above has been changed to correct the amount and recipient.