Hodge authorized to negotiate contracts

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ST. CROIX - The V.I. Water and Power Authority board held a specially scheduled meeting Tuesday morning and authorized its executive director to negotiate a new fuel supply contract and a contract for computer support software for the utility.

The meeting was videoconferenced between the authority's Sunny Isle Office and its conference room in Al Cohen's Plaza with WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr., and board members Cheryl Boynes-Jackson, Juanita Young, Donald Francois present on St. Thomas and Noel Loftus, V.I. Energy Office Director Karl Knight and board Chairman Gerald Groner present on St. Croix .

The board first went into executive session to discuss legal matters, and no action was taken according to Groner. The board then heard a presentation from Hodge about the need for the new fuel supply contract.

Hodge said the existing fuel supply contract in place will terminate at the end of the month, and it is important that a new contractual agreement is in place to meet WAPA's need in a timely fashion.

The board members present voted unanimously to authorize Hodge to enter into a contract with Vitol Inc. for the supply of No. 2 fuel oil to the power plants in each district for a period of Sept. 1 through June 30 at a cost based on the approved formula.

"In making the decision, we look at the best contract by price, flexibility of delivery, delivery cost, supply chain, a lot of different parts and components to delivering crude oil, and the best total package came from Vitol," Hodge said.

The authorization includes an option for a one-year extension at a price plus a premium that would be determined to be appropriate by WAPA.

The board then voted to also give Hodge approval to enter into a contract with a company called Softmart to provide Microsoft software for WAPA through an enterprise agreement at a cost of just more than $397,000 for a three-year period.

Hodge said the benefits of securing the contract would be to have access to the latest versions of Microsoft software used throughout WAPA, access to Microsoft support, training vouchers, Microsoft planning services and Office 365 service.

The next regular meeting of the governing board is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 25 on St. Croix.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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