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GOVERNOR SIGNS AGREEMENT TO PAY WAPA BILLS

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Aug. 15, 2001 – The Water and Power Authority moved a step closer Wednesday to collecting the tens of millions of dollars it is owed by the V.I. government, receiving Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's signed copy of the memorandum of understanding submitted to the governor two weeks ago.
The memorandum, delivered by WAPA to Government House on Aug. 1 and signed by Turnbull on Tuesday, guarantees payment of $22.4 million in delinquent water and power bills, starting with a payment of $17 million on or about Aug. 15 (Wednesday), to be followed by the balance of approximately $5.4 million on or about Nov. 15.
Joseph R. Thomas Jr., WAPA executive director, said, "This is great news. The authority has been very concerned about this issue." He said the payments will improve the authority's standing in the international financial community, thereby clearing the way for a new round of long-term debt financing.
"It will also greatly improve WAPA's chances of completing Fiscal Year 2002 without a rate increase," Thomas said. "We must now focus on more current delinquent amounts, and the timely payment of current government bills." The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
The memorandum formalizes talks held in July between Thomas and Turnbull and his advisers. "While we await delivery of the funds, this MOU reflects the governor's follow-through on our earlier agreement," Thomas said.
Because of the agreement reached during those talks, WAPA didn't follow through with its earlier-announced intention to cut off service to all nonessential agencies if the government didn't pay its past-due by Aug. 10.

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