Port Authority OKs 2 new security personnel at King Airport

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ST. CROIX - The V.I. Port Authority governing board on Wednesday OK'd establishing two new airport security positions for St. Thomas, a move that was necessary to establish constant security monitoring at King Airport, officials said.

The board took action Wednesday on that and other measures, and heard reports and updates at its regular monthly meeting.

St. Thomas airport manager Jose Nazario told the board the new positions would be two additional staff members to monitor closed-circuit cameras at King Airport. The two additional personnel would allow for expanding the hours when the monitoring is done, to allow for monitoring the cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

The positions would have a starting salary of $22,203.66 each. With fringe benefits, the two new positions are expected to cost $68,831 annually, according to information presented to the board.

Earlier this year, a maintenance mechanic providing on-call maintenance services to a commercial carrier at King Airport was properly escorted into a restricted area by someone with access, but was left alone to do his work, rather than being accompanied in that area at all times, Nazario said.

The Transportation Security Administration discovered the mechanic on the ramp of the airport without an airport badge, unescorted.

While nothing untoward happened, there are strict U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations, and the Port Authority will be implementing corrective measures with the new hires, officials said.

In other discussion, the board was told that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a permit for maintenance dredging at Crown Bay Marina. The authority still is awaiting approval of permits to do a larger dredging project at Crown Bay.

In other action, the board:

- Ratified a poll vote taken on a proposed bankruptcy settlement with American Airlines.

Legal counsel Don Mills told board members that although the authority contended that the airline owed it almost $900,000 before American's bankruptcy filing, the amount was in dispute.

The parties agreed on American paying the Port Authority $689,000 in American Airlines preferred stock to settle the matter, which Mills said American had agreed to pay by the end of the month.

- Abated a one-time water use bill of $16,093 - which has been in dispute since March 2011 - for Alliance Aviation Fuels, Inc. to $11,210 as final settlement.

- Approved a settlement with N & S Auto Services for a lease agreement for property in Sub Base that had expired in December 2010. The business owner asked to renew the lease, but was put on hold because of a planned relocation. The company was given unwritten permission by the Port Authority to prepare the space for its relocation, although no oversight or constraints were placed on the tenant. The tenant then requested more than $91,400 in reimbursement. The board approved a settlement of $47,605, which includes a $25,000 payment to the tenant and $22,605 in rent credits.

- Approved a $65,000 amendment to an existing contract for real estate and consulting services with Jones Lang LaSalle to perform financial due diligence of the Red Legacy Crown Bay Development Project.

- OK'd a five-year lease renewal with Margaritaville Vacation Club for the use of a hospitality lounge in the King Airport baggage claim area for its guests and invitees at a rate of $12,600 per year.

- Approved a $252,532 proposal by CDR Maguire, the authority's consultant for architectural and engineering services at its marine facilities, for technical services preparing concept plans and geotechnical reports required for the Port Authority to expand its Red Hook facility.

- OK'd a $143,720 proposal for CDR Maguire to prepare a report on the planning and potential uses of the Gallows Bay Terminal.

- Signed off on a $34,000 proposal for URS, LLP to design the air-conditioning system for the baggage claim area at King Airport.

- Approved a $285,240 proposal with CDR Maguire to provide technical services for the dredging of the Schooner Bay Channel on St. Croix.

- Agreed to a $51,900 proposal from CDR Maguire for preparation of plans and specifications to bring the Blyden Marine Terminal into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

- Selected a $353,918 bid from V.I. Paving for the tenants' parking lot at the Wilfred "Bomba" Allick Port and Transshipment Center.

- Authorized entering into a $400,000 contract with the deJongh Group, P.C. to help prepare a comprehensive Environmental Assessment Report for the Crown Bay development expansion project.

- Approved a $111,390 proposal for URS, LLP to provide technical services for the design of a new public address system for King Airport.

- Selected a bid of $123,111 from FR Maintenance and Construction to renovate the bathrooms in the baggage claim area at King Airport.

- In executive session, approved an offer that the Port Authority will make to purchase some property on St. Thomas. No further details were provided.

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