Home News Local news Monies Not Available to Fully Fund Omnibus Bill, Officials Say

Monies Not Available to Fully Fund Omnibus Bill, Officials Say


Nov. 29, 2006–Revised revenue projections for fiscal year 2007 are not currently enough to sustain the appropriations included in this year's Omnibus Authorization Act, public officials said during Wednesday's Committee of the Whole hearing.
Wednesday's meeting was the first of two designed to take testimony on two massive pieces of legislation — the 100-page Omnibus bill and the 247-page Government Reform and Modernization Act. According to Senate President Lorraine L. Berry, no action will be taken on either bill until Dec. 11 when a full Senate session is scheduled.
While both bills deal with numerous government reforms, the Omnibus bill also includes multiple appropriations from the General Fund for FY 2007. The Government Reform and Modernization Act also includes a single $3.5 million General Fund appropriation but does not specify during which fiscal year the appropriation will be made. According to figures given by the Legislature's post-audit division, appropriations laid out in the Omnibus bill alone total approximately $4.5 million.
However, Office of Management and Budget Director Ira Mills said the government only has — after subtracting the amount of money appropriated in the FY 2007 budget and two subsequent appropriations bills– approximately $4 million available for additional projects.
Mills explained that of a possible $846.25 million in overall net revenue projected for FY 2007, $842.7 has already been earmarked for various government departments and agencies, along with multiple capital improvement projects, grants and funds for several community organizations.
While Mills added that members of the government's financial team, along with heads of departments and agencies, have not had a chance to analyze the Omnibus bill appropriations, he also told senators to be cognizant of the revenue limitations as they move forward with the appropriations.
Berry said that senators, after hearing all testimony given by various government officials, will decide which sections of the bill need to be revised or deleted, and how the appropriations will be prioritized.
As currently written, appropriations included in the Omnibus bill are:
–$175,000 to the Juvenile Prevention Program;
–$210,000 to the V.I. Board of Education for staffing needs;
–$75,000 to Housing, Parks and Recreation for the Positive Vibes Soccer Club Corporation;
–$500,000 to the St. Thomas-St. John branch of the YMCA to renovate the YMCA building on St. Thomas;
–$170,921 to the Department of Public Works to pay a prior year obligation to S&S Services;
–$20,000 to the Advance-A Youth from High School, Inc for scholarships, as well as educational and athletic programs;
–$20,000 to the Department of Education to hire 10 monitors for public schools on St. Croix;
–$7,000 to the Freedom City Majikal Twirlers;
–$50,000 to the Viking's Baseball Youth Development program;
–$25,000 to the United Mon Bijou Brothers, Inc;
–$20,000 to the Olympic Committee Baseball Federation for the St. Croix Men's Double AA Baseball League for operational expenses, conducting league initiatives, programs and other related purposes;
–$315,000 to Housing, Parks and Recreation for the repair of La Vallee's baseball park, resurfacing the parking lot, lighting and bleachers for the basketball court;
–$500,000 to the V.I. Housing Authority to purchase and install security cameras for all housing communities territory-wide;
–$20,000 to the St. Croix Unity Coalition to host the seventh annual Teen Summit;
–$110,000 to Public Works to develop a flood mitigation plan for the area known as "Old Mon Bijou-Guavaberry Street;"
–$60,000 to the Department of Health to hire a health safety officer;
–$150,000 to the Department of Health to employ a public health pharmacist and to purchase a mammography machine;
–$250,000 to the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, St. Thomas-St John, for the build out of the Unity Lodge Halfway House;
–$110,000 to Sculpting Inventions of Difference Youth Employment Replication Program;
–$385,000 to Public Works to widen the roadway at the bottom of Raphune Hill;
–$200,000 to the Department of Education for the Cancryn School Twsani after-school program;
–$15,000 to the Department of Education to host the Union Caribbean of Teachers' fourth regional education conference on St. Croix on Nov. 21-25, 2006;
–$75,000 to the Beyond Vision Foundation to fund a program to provide technical assistance and training to local nonprofit organizations and community development training for local landowners;
–$50,000 to the University of the Virgin Islands to evaluate the administrative efficiency of processing Notices of Personnel Action (NOPAs), to ensure the timely hiring and payment of salaries to new employees;
–$250,000 to the Department of Education for the construction of a community center at the Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay, St. John; and
–$100,000 for the maintenance of public bathrooms.
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