Dec. 16, 2005 Senators observed the spirit of Christmas in Thursday's full session as they distributed millions of the tax payers dollars to a bevy of amendments.
Traditionally, the Senate does this each year, usually for individual lawmaker's pet projects, and, traditionally each year, the governor vetoes almost all of them.
This year, the amendments were attached to a bill appropriating $1.5 million from the General Fund to the Human Services Department to purchase the Massac Nursing facility on St. Thomas. Each senator was allowed two amendments. They include:
Removing the $75,000 insurance cap for claims after an automobile crash.
Hanging the funding source for the $1 million for improvements to the Legislature building form the General Fund to the balance of money left from the PFA Carifest contract.
A $150,00 appropriation to the Tourism Department for a feasibility study for a floating hotel on St. Croix.
A $15,000 appropriation to the St. John Love City Steel Band to play in the St. Croix Agricultural Fair.
A $75,000 additional appropriation for the Crucian Christmas Festival.
A $250,000 appropriation from the General Fund to hire five firefighters in the St. Thomas-St. John District to staff the Bordeaux Fire Station.
A $400,000 appropriation from the General Fund to pay salaries of the V. I. Drug Enforcement Bureau, whose federal grant has not been renewed.
A $2.5 million appropriation from the General Fund to build a new gymnasium at the Charlotte Amalie High School, and $100,000 to repave the CAHS tennis courts.
Setting each senator's allotment of 2 percent of the Legislature's total budget with extra amounts for leadership positions beginning in 2006.
Allowing $14 million set aside in the Omnibus bill for books for the Education Department to be spent by the Education on V. I. Cultural programs and technology equipment.
In addition, resolutions were approved honoring:
Rosa Parks posthumously for her commitment and dedication to the Civil Rights movement.
Yvonne Williams-Henry for 30 years of outstanding service in education in the territory.
Dr. John Samuel Moorhead on his 100th birthday for his dedicated and distinguished medical service to the Virgin Islands.
In other action, the senators approved a 25-year lease agreement between the government and Grade-All Heavy Equipment Inc. for Sub Base property. They also granted zoning variances to the McKnight property in Estate Mount Pleasant on St. Croix and to property in Estate Thomas on St. Thomas to be developed into professional offices and a medical clinic.
All senators attended the session.
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