March 15, 2004 – Gov. Charles W. Turnbull announced Monday afternoon that he is calling the Legislature into special session on March 23.
Topping the heavy agenda the governor submitted to Senate President David Jones is a request for authorization for the government to issue bonds to fund the design, construction and operation of new wastewater treatment facilities on St. Croix and St. Thomas and costs associated with the repair of the sewage distribution system.
The governor wrote Jones: "As you are aware, the Virgin Islands is subject to a consent decree issued by the federal District Court and an agreement with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency which require the territory to construct, upgrade and/or replace the existing wastewater treatment facilities."
Turnbull said two firms have been selected for these projects: VWNA Caribbean LLC, a subsidiary of US Filter Operating Services Inc., and Veolia Water S.A. Contracts have been awarded for the construction, design and operation of the facilities, he said in a Government House release issued late Monday afternoon.
The new St. Croix facility must be completed by Nov. 30, 2005, and the St. Thomas one, by Nov. 30, 2006, the release said. The combined construction costs are estimated at about $52 million. There will be additional costs for the repairs mandated by the amended consent decree to the sewage distribution system territorywide.
Government House public relations officer Rina Roebuck said she didn't know if the contracts had been put out to bid. It was not possible contact the Property and Procurement Department for further information on the contracts Monday evening.
The governor also told Jones he is sending a bill to amend provisions of the Waste Management Authority act. He said when he signed the measure into law last month that he would be submitting changes..
The governor also said he is requesting authorization for bonds to finance the demolition of the existing facilities at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School on St. Thomas and Central High School on St. Croix. He gave no timetable for the demolitions.
Funding for a new cafeteria and other improvements at Cancryn were announced in January by Kenneth Mapp, Public Finance Authority director of finance and administration. He said on a WVWI Radio newscast that the PFA's recent $268 million bond issue included $3 million for Cancryn.
Sen. Carlton Dowe, who has been persistent in pushing for Cancryn improvements, said on Monday evening that he has asked the governor for a meeting on the issue.
Another provision of the same bill provides for $5 million in bond financing for each district for "badly needed" road repairs. The release said this is "one of the largest and most wide-reaching capital projects of the Turnbull administration."
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