Senators receive final budget briefings
Published: September 8, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Senate budget hearings finished this week, and the Senate Finance Committee is preparing to take action on the governor's proposal Thursday.
After hearing all the budget presentations, the Senate is now going into "mark-up." Budget mark-up is the process - typically done behind closed doors by the Senate majority caucus - during which senators change the governor's proposal. When the final budget is approved by the full V.I. Legislature by a simple majority vote, it goes to the governor for his signature.
Fiscal Year 2013 begins Oct. 1.
Multiple agencies defended FY 2013 budget proposals during the last three weeks.
V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau
V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau officials defended their agency's $10 million budget recommendation for FY 2013. The request is 2.9 percent less - $292,607 - less than FY 2012.
The bureau also gets a $50,000 appropriation from the Casino Revenue Fund.
The Internal Revenue Bureau is the primary tax revenue collection agency for the Government of the Virgin Islands. It does not collect property taxes, but it does collect gross receipts, trade and excise, production, highway user, hotel occupancy, fuel and other taxes.
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources defended its total FY 2013 budget request of $22.3 million.
The department is seeking $7.5 million from the General Fund. In addition to the General Fund amount, the department anticipates receiving $3.4 million in other local funds generated by DPNR and $11.3 million in federal funding. Another $572,402 is earmarked for the department in the miscellaneous section of the budget.
DPNR has 10 distinct divisions and will receive the following from the General Fund for FY 2012:
- Executive Office and Business and Administration Services - $2,107,587
- Archaeology and Historic Preservation - $187,438
- Coastal Zone Management - $163,627
- Comprehensive and Coastal Zone Planning - $233,023
- Environmental Protection - $151,953
- Enforcement - $0
- Fish and Wildlife - $0
- Permits Administration and Inspection - $1,421,562
- Libraries - $2,984,571
- Museums - $256,438
The Department's Divisions of Fish and Wildlife and Enforcement are funded from sources other than the General Fund.
V.I. Labor Management Committee
The governor's recommended FY 2013 budget for the V.I. Labor Management Committee is $175,000, an increase of $10,000 over the 2012 appropriation. The committee's budget comes from the Union Arbitration Fund.
The committee trains and assists workers and management, with the goal of helping the two sides work together to solve labor issues - particularly those not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The committee also offers workshops and conferences each year on various topics, including conflict management, contract administration, grievance mediation, employee rights and responsibilities and supervisor-steward relationships.
Legal Services of the Virgin Islands
Legal Services is slated to receive an $890,000 appropriation in the miscellaneous section of the FY 2013 executive budget. The organization has asked for $1 million from the General Fund.
In addition to the General Fund appropriation, the agency expects to get $532,344 in federal funding and $63,000 from the United Way.
Legal Services is a nonprofit public interest law firm that provides free legal aid to the elderly, domestic violence victims and low income and other disadvantaged residents.
Bureau of Information Technology
The FY 2013 budget proposal for the Bureau of Information Technology is $2.3 million, a decrease of $299,410 from the current year's appropriation. The budget breaks down to: $1.1 million for salaries and benefits; $63,367 for supplies; $161,930 for utilities; $25,000 for capital outlays; $972,342 for other services and charges.
The bureau was created in 2003 to develop a technology strategy for the V.I. government and is tasked with managing the territory's 911 radio system; providing email and Internet service to all branches of government; and overseeing the Enterprise Resource Planning System, which is a software program used to manage the V.I. government's finances.
V.I. Carnival Committee
The V.I. Carnival Committee is a nonprofit organization responsible for planning and putting on the St. Thomas Carnival festivities.
In the FY 2013 budget, the committee has an earmark of $350,000 from the miscellaneous section of the General Fund budget. In addition, the committee is slated to get a $300,000 appropriation from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund.
St. John Festival and Cultural Organization
The St. John Festival and Cultural Organization is a nonprofit organization responsible for organizing Carnival activities on St. John each year. The FY 2013 budget includes a $155,750 miscellaneous section appropriation and $175,000 from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund.
Frederiksted Health Care
Frederiksted Health Care is a nonprofit medical clinic on St. Croix. The FY 2013 budget includes a $1.9 million budget appropriation, but the clinic asked senators for $2.5 million at their budget hearing.
In addition to the General Fund budget appropriation, the clinic expects to get $1.2 million in federal grants and generate $840,000 in revenue.
St. Thomas East End Medical Center
The St. Thomas East End Medical Center is the nonprofit health clinic on St. Thomas.
The center has $1.6 million earmarked in the FY 2013 budget. In addition to the General Fund budget, the center expects to get $675,756 in federal grants, $2.5 million from program income and $3.2 million in non appropriated funds for a total operating budget of $4.8 million.
V.I. Uniform State Laws Commission
The V.I. Uniform State Laws Commission has a $40,000 budget appropriation in the FY 2013 budget. The $40,000 budget appropriation will pay for $18,200 in annual membership dues; $500 for office supplies; $2,500 to keep the Uniform Laws periodicals updated; $11,000 in travel expenses to the annual meeting; $5,800 for professional services, including a summer paralegal; and $2,000 for contingency expenses.
The commission is a dues-paying member of the Uniform Laws Commission, which is a national body of legal experts that works to draft comprehensive laws that states and territories can choose to adopt.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email email@example.com.