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Tuesday, January 31, 2023



Oct. 25, 2001 – Confirming predictions voiced at its September board meeting, the Port Authority has cut its Fiscal Year 2002 budget by more than $8 million, Gordon Finch, VIPA executive director announced at Wednesday's meeting.
At the September meeting, the board approved the FY 2002 budget. Lloyd Romeo, director of administration and finance, outlined the budget, which proposed $56.6 million in spending, of which $21.3 million would be for capital projects.
Because the $56.6 budget had been drafted prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist events, it raised questions. Board member Iver Stridiron said at the time, "We need to be cautious. The authority may face a lower number of incoming aircraft and a consequent revenue downstream."
Romeo had agreed: "This is our slow period now, but if it doesn't turn around, we will have to revisit this budget." That is what the board did Wednesday.
"A $4 million loss on the marine side is probable, but this is not the worst-case scenario," Finch told board members, according to a report in The Avis. Finch said the greatest losses would be felt in the cruise ship fees of $7.50 per passenger and wharfage and shipping fees.
A report prepared by VIPA's Finance Committee reflected more bad news. It showed 30 percent drops in the collection of direct airline revenue and aviation rental fees and a 25 percent decrease in marine fees territorywide.
The only VIPA division to show a profit so far this year was the St. Thomas-St. John Marine Division. But, according to the published report, Finch said that it, too, would likely take a turn for the worse.
Romeo said less some less-urgent capital improvements would have to be put on hold, but he said major projects such as harbor dredging and airport repairs would go forward. The capital projects VIPA either has started or will start in FY 2002 include the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport terminal expansion and renovation, the Rohlsen airport runway extension and the Gallows Bay Dock, all on St. Croix.
The long-planned $16 million Enighed Pond cargo facility on St. John, will move forward as soon as VIPA receives the funding from the V.I. government, Romeo had said at the September meeting. On Thursday, he said the project does not call for any construction this year and so won't be affected by the budget cut. He confirmed that the Red Hook dock facility on St. Thomas will go ahead as scheduled.
In other action, the board denied a request by the V.I. Taxi Association for certain fees to be waived, the report stated.
VIPA's budget is financed primarily from generated revenues, estimated at $45.6 for this fiscal year, with the balance to come from federal grants. The authority does not receive money from the local government's General Fund.

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