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Cruz Bay
Sunday, December 3, 2023


The Senate somehow approved 16 budget bills Wednesday as the session continued in the same rancorous manner in which it started the day.
The Omnibus Bill still maintained center stage regardless of the issue at hand. Minority senators are vociferously against the measure, claiming it covers too many controversial issues, isn't clear and "hides" real issues. Sens. Adelbert "Bert" Bryan and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen led the pack, followed closely by Sens. Donald "Ducks" Cole and Norman Jn Baptiste.
Baptiste is a member of the majority, but rarely sides with it. Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd voted with the minority, but did not participate in their histrionics.
The bills approved by the Senate were:
– $361.3 million to the executive branch;
– $1.8 million for managing government properties;
– $22.1 million for UVI for its expenses during FY 2001;
– $454,208 for administering the government health insurance program;
– $2.7 million for Health Department equipment;
– $3 million for expenses relating to federal grants;
– $75.7 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund, of which slightly more than $50 million goes to payment of bond interest and principal; it also includes $4.9 million for school bus transportation and $1.3 million for school maintenance and repairs;
– $4.8 million for roadside maintenance and a used-oil recycling program;
– $344,678 for Taxicab Division operations;
– $218,000 for expenses relating to operating the public sewer system;
– $477,519 for the Public Service Commission;
– $1.9 million from interest on bond proceeds for deposit in the General Fund;
– $490,000 for the Public Employees Relations Board and the Labor-Management Committee;
– $500,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund, with $300,000 for V.I. Carnival, $50,000 for the St. John Fourth of July Celebration, and $150,000 for the St. Croix Festival.
The Senate also passed a measure to put off the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund because of a lack of monies to be used from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund.

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