Port Authority approves renovations at King Airport
Published: September 19, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The executive board of the V.I. Port Authority met in its monthly meeting Wednesday and approved a number of proposals for improvements to port facilities throughout the territory and approved its capital and operations budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Chief Financial Officer Valdamier Collens presented the budget to the board and said that the Port Authority has been working toward keeping expenditures down and has been paying close attention to the aviation division, which remains consistently on the negative side. The Port Authority has been able to reduce overtime by 33 percent, reduce utilities by 13 percent and reduce other expenditures across the board by 10 percent, he said.
The agency has balanced the operations budget with deep cuts in specific categories and also expects to save significantly as a result of ongoing insurance negotiation, according to Collens.
The board voted to approve the budget with Gordon Finch abstaining from the vote and all other members who were present voting in favor. Finch also abstained as the board approved a request for a lease for Laser Vision Institute for a 29,000-square-foot space in Crown Bay with a 10-year lease and an option to renew for another 10 years at a rate of $55 per square foot.
Port Authority Chief Engineer Dale Gregory presented a number of additional requests to the board, all of which the board approved, including:
- A contract to Custom Building for $3.9 million to renovate the baggage claim area at King Airport on St. Thomas. Gregory said it is a publicly bid contract for the modifications to the entrance, removal of the conveyor belt, relocation of the restaurant and enlargement of the public restroom facilities.
- A change order to Radison Construction and Development Corporation for repairs to the roof of the administration building at King Airport. Gregory said there are problems with roof leaks and no serious work had been done since 1990. Once the preliminary work began, they realized parts of the metal had been rusting and there was more work to be done than had been anticipated, he said. One part of the wall above the elevator shaft had to be completely replaced at a cost of $12,000, then the metal roof had to be coated and sealed, according to Gregory. The work now will ensure no needed repairs for 10 to 15 years, he said. The total change order is about $46,000, Gregory said.
- A task order to CDR McGuire Group to redesign the south tender landing at Ann Abramson Marine Facility in Frederiksted for an estimated $183,000. Gregory said the tender landing pier is used for commercial fishermen, divers and excursions. He said the pier is severely corroded, and it is better to address the problems now before it begins to fail and becomes a liability.
- An $890,000 contract to Island Roads Corporation to reconstruct the security perimeter fencing at King Airport. Gregory said the Federal Aviation Administration has included the funds in a grant application received two weeks ago and is funding 90 percent of the project.
- Offering a contract to Island Road Corporation to repair the general aviation apron at King Airport at a cost of $5 million. Gregory said the apron is in bad shape and in need of repair and the bids that came in were between $5 million and $8.5 million. He said the project will be 90 percent funded by the FAA. He said the work will begin as soon as the contract is in place, which could be within 30 to 60 days, and they plan to work with the users of the facility so the work does not infringe on operations.
Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said the construction is expected to take 300 days and they can extend working hours to limit the impact on the operations.
Discussions of non-action items by the board on Wednesday included the Crown Bay Marina dredging project, which Gregory said is moving forward. He said the feasibility studies showed that there is not as much rock in Crown Bay as there could have been and rock that was found is not very hard.
Estimated costs are about $15, million and the possibility of finding only a small amount of rock in the area means they can get it done on time, according to Gregory.
Board members Finch and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said they are concerned that the timing of the dredging project may create a conflict with the cruise industries.
Finch also said the time schedules being advertised are not very realistic and could cause problems for the Port Authority.
Nicholson-Doty said Plan B needs to be put into place and suggested that doing the dredging in phases could limit any adverse effects.
In addition to Finch and Nicholson-Doty, board members attending the meeting included Chairman Robert O'Connor, Manuel Gutierrez Jr., Allison Petrus, Yvonne Thraen and Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.