Home News Local news WAPA BOARD QUESTIONS LAND ACQUSITION

WAPA BOARD QUESTIONS LAND ACQUSITION

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Oct. 31, 2002 – The VI Water and Power Authority board of directors met Thursday morning to discuss concerns over some $2.2 million used – without the board's approval — to buy land on St. Croix two years ago.
Chairwoman Carol Burke said the property, adjacent to the Richmond power plant and commonly referred to as Devcon, is the site of the former VI Cement and Building Products Inc.
WAPA intended to relocate its garage and warehouse to Devcon, which are currently housed in rental buildings. But the utility's administration went ahead with the purchase before consulting the governing board, prompting an investigation by its members.
"What we did today is had individual employees of WAPA who should've been involved, by nature of their job, in the transaction," Burke said of the report, which was given during executive session.
She said the intentions of the authority's administration were justified, but questionable "was the manner in which they carried it out, obligating the authority to $2.2 million without certain controls in place."
She said the results of the internal audit report will be revealed at the board's next meeting Nov. 21.
Board member and Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnick called the land purchases "very interesting" and noted that additional actions not out of step with board policy appear to have transpired.
He mentioned environmental liability concerns and WAPA's leasing some areas of the property for as low as $10 per year.
Burke said the board did not discuss rate issues, and utility rates will remain in place for the time being.
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