Committee examines Public Works' budget
Published: September 1, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls defended his agency's $20.5 million General Fund Fiscal Year 2013 budget to the Senate Finance Committee Friday.
The $20.5 million budget breaks down to: $8.8 million for salaries and benefits; $539,209 for supplies; $10.5 million for other services and charges; and $656,609 for utilities.
In addition to the General Fund budget, about $4.2 million is earmarked in the miscellaneous section for various programs including: $850,000 for the St. Thomas-St. John ferry subsidy; $1 million for the Anti-Litter and Beautification Fund; $300,000 for Carnival cleanup; $225,000 for the St. John Capital Improvement Fund; $100,000 for the Ironman triathlon; $1.5 million for road repairs and striping; and $300,000 for the Abandoned Vehicle Task Force.
Public Works also anticipates receiving $17.6 million in federal funding for FY 2013 from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
Smalls said the two-year federal highway bill signed by President Barack Obama in July reduces the territory's appropriation by about 10 percent - from about $20.5 million in FY 2012 to about $16 million in FY 2013.
Smalls gave senators a quick update of various road projects in the territory during his budget testimony.
The final phase of the Long Bay Road project, the widening of Frenchman's Bay Road, began in May and is expected to be finished by December 2013. The $6.7 million final phase is about 15 percent complete, Smalls said.
The final phase of the bypass project - which carries a $5.9 million price tag - is about half done, Smalls said. He said the project should be completed by November.
The enhancement of the Rothschild Francis Square, known as Market Square, is an ongoing project. The $5.4 million construction project is about 40 percent done and should be completed by February, well before next year's Carnival celebrations, Smalls said.
Construction of two ferryboats for the St. Thomas-St. John ferry franchise holders began in April. Smalls said the boats cost $7.6 million and should be delivered to the territory next year.
A revised request for proposals soon will be issued to purchase a ferryboat to operate the St. Croix to St. Thomas route, Smalls said. He said they are considering a vessel that could transport vehicles as well as passengers between the islands.
An RFP will be issued next year for the construction of smaller passenger ferries for water transportation within the St. Thomas Harbor, according to Smalls. The fixed route would take passengers from Water Island to Crown Bay, to downtown Charlotte Amalie to the Havensight area.
Public Works soon will advertise for bids on a supplemental contract to complete the remaining work on Brookman Road on St. Thomas, Smalls said. Additional drainage and road work needed went over the 25 percent limit of the original contract, so it must be prepared as a new contract, Smalls said. He said he is reprogramming money to cover the added expense of the project.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.