Home News Local news PFA Formalizes Leadership, Broadband Contracts

PFA Formalizes Leadership, Broadband Contracts


After approving a single funding request, the Public Finance Authority board spent most of its monthly meeting cleaning house, with resolutions that formalized the agency’s new leadership and added to the operations of its broadband board.

Angel Dawson, who will still keep his position as Finance Commissioner, recently transitioned into the role of the PFA’s director of administration in finance, after former PFA chief Julito Francis resigned last month to take the reins of the V.I. Next Generation Network (viNGN) — the entity tasked with developing and overseeing the operations of the government’s territory-wide broadband initiative.

Board members voted Wednesday to switch Dawson in for Francis as signatory on the PFA’s accounts and transfer the title of Francis’ government vehicle to the viNGN so he can still use it.

On a somewhat related note, the board also approved a $2.8 million contract with Atlantic Engineering Group Inc, which will provide viNGN with planning, engineering and consulting services on the broadband project. The contract, which was originally negotiated by the PFA, was also formally assigned to viNGN for execution.

That Atlantic Engineering Group has set up a local affiliate — AEG Services LLC — to handle the work in the territory was a concern for board member Pablo O’Neil, who suggested the company’s structure could cause some tax problems for the government later on, particularly when it comes to taxes paid on profits generated in the territory.

O’Neil suggested adding some stipulations to the contract, but concerns over the need to accelerate the project forced a compromise, with board members deciding to send a letter onto the Atlantic addressing the issues and the need for the company to deal with them. It was made clear, however, that the contract was with Atlantic and not its AEG affiliate, and that the company would be paying gross receipts taxes in the territory.

ViNGN was also assigned a contract with the Maguire Group — the firm brought in by the PFA to complete the environmental assessment report on the project.

The board also voted to reprogram $750,000 from 2003 gross receipts bond proceeds earmarked for the renovation of Health buildings near the Knud Hansen Complex on St. Thomas to Public Works for repairs to Route 334, which connects the north and south sides of the island. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said Wednesday that the first phase of the project is complete, but there is not enough federal money available for the next segment.

Board members present during Wednesday’s meeting were deJongh, Debra Gottlieb, Keith O’Neale and O’Neil.


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