Home News Local news WAPA, GOVERNMENT OK DEBT PAYMENT PLAN

WAPA, GOVERNMENT OK DEBT PAYMENT PLAN

0

July 11, 2001 — As the V.I. Water and Power Authority sent out "demand for payment" notices Tuesday to government agencies that owe a combined $25.9 million, utility officials and Gov. Charles Turnbull met to hammer out a plan to take care of the over-due bills.
Turnbull announced that the government has "agreed to pay WAPA $13 million out of $15 million earmarked for overdue utility costs contained in a supplemental appropriation bill" that is now before the Senate Finance Committee. Additionally, the V.I. Housing Authority will pay WAPA $2.3 million out of $4.3 million proposed in the appropriation bill.
Turnbull said independent agencies and instrumentalities will pay $1.7 million of what they owe WAPA, leaving a balance of $17 million. Meanwhile, a memorandum of understanding will be developed between WAPA and the government where the latter will commit to paying its $5.3 million outstanding balance by Nov. 15, the governor said.
Tuesday's meeting included Turnbull and his top advisers, WAPA board chairwoman Carol M. Burke and Executive Director Joseph R. Thomas Jr.
WAPA officials have said the government's payment of its debt is necessary to avoid a rate increase in fiscal year 2002, which begins Oct. 1, and to pay some short- and long-term debts that are coming due. Thomas has said the $26 million debt carried on the WAPA books affects everything from its bond rating to audits.
The Housing Authority is the single largest debtor in the government with a $6.6 million bill. The Public Works Department is next with a $6.3 million debt.
WAPA had warned that if the affected agencies and independent instrumentalities don’t pay up by Aug. 10, it will cut service. WAPA contends that it is owed nearly $26 million in water and electricity bills dating back seven years. That figure, however, will be reduced by about $3.5 million to about $22.4 million to account for the utility's debt to the government for the construction of a water plant. And depending on the outcome of the administration’s effort to have its Hurricane Hugo loan debt cancelled, another $5.3 million given to the utility could reduce the balance owed.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here