V.I. Port Authority discusses new capital improvement plan

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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Port Authority is beginning the process of securing $132.6 million in financing for the next round of capital projects.

According to a presentation made by Port Authority Chief Financial Officer Valdamier Collens at a board meeting Wednesday, the current plan includes 64 projects.

Approximately every five years, the Port Authority comes up with a capital improvement plan, and the next plan will cover years 2015 to 2019.

The budget for the plan is separate from the Port Authority's annual operating budget, and financing usually is drawn from one-time sources, such as grants and loans.

The new projects include airport runway rehabilitation, other airport improvements, dredging, dock improvements, building maintenance, new construction, new equipment and security infrastructure.

The board voted Wednesday to allow Executive Director Carlton Dowe and his staff to begin seeking financing options. The motion directed the staff to develop a financing plan, spending no more than 1.25 percent of the total financed amount to do so.

In other business Wednesday, the board:

- Approved a salary increase for about a dozen non-unionized directors and managers. The 2.5 percent salary increase will be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2013, and will total about $163,000.

- Waived half of the finance charges, totalling about $2,080, on a water bill for Ashley's Mobile restaurant.

- Adopted the Port Authority's Travel and Business Entertainment Expense Policy and Standards.

- Approved a three-year lease to SITA Information Networking Computing USA for 12 square feet of space at Rohlsen Airport to house an air-ground communication system.

- Approved a lease for counter space and office space at Rohlsen Airport for a new charter flight company, Hummingbird Air. The three-year lease for approximately 203 square feet of space will have a monthly rent of $1,000.

- Approved a lease to Polaris Engineering for 53,040 square feet - approximately 1.2 acres - of land at the Molasses Pier on St. Croix to construct a liquid petroleum gas storage and import facility. About a dozen 120-foot tanks would be stored on the property. The 10-year lease will pay about $3,315 a month.

- Amended the lease agreements for the V.I. Industrial Park to include the ability to sublease to companies in aquaponics and related industries.

- Approved entering into a memorandum of agreement with the V.I. Housing Authority to develop affordable housing options on Port Authority-owned land at Lindbergh Bay on St. Thomas.

- Approved a $17,402.16 change order for contractor J. Benton Construction. The contractor is currently repairing the roof of King airport, but the scope was expanded to improve drainage on the roof.

- Approved a $92,555 contract for SOL Inc. to upgrade the solar street light fixtures along the roadway and parking lot at King Airport. The lights will be installed by the Port Authority.

- Approved a $46,411 supplemental contract for additional design and construction of baggage carousels at King Airport.

- Approved $35,000 for a six-month temporary employment contract for an associate engineer.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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