May 16, 2002 – The Public Finance Authority has approved $35 million in private activity bonds for the Seven Hills Beach Resort and Casino planned for Robin Bay on St. Croix — a project which the PFA has said is expected to improve the island's troubled economy dramatically.
The good news for St. Croix came Wednesday at the same PFA board meeting where Edward E. Thomas, chief executive of The West Indian Co., announced that a second cruise line had decided to abandon the island as a port of call. (See "Another cruise line pulls away from St. Croix".)
Thomas also had good news for WICO's shareholder. There is only one, and that one is the PFA. WICO declared a $1.2 million dividend to the authority — the net amount after deducting $395,000 spent on renovating the Denmark Hill house which Gov. Charles W. Turnbull uses as his official residence.
The authority board also approved several other projects to be financed by the private activity bonds. These bonds are issued by the PFA to be repaid by the private sector recipients with no financial risk to the PFA. The approvals were for:
– $12 million for Botany Bay Development on St. Thomas. The developers have agreed to renovate and improve the existing government-owned sewage treatment plant in Estate Bordeaux, to bring it up to federal Environmental Protection Agency standards. The plan calls for a dock which would be available for emergency use by government agencies and a reverse-osmosis plant where the water produced will be available to Bordeaux area residents.
– $10.7 million for Hovensa for use in solid waste disposal facilities.
– $15 million for the V.I. Housing Authority and the Housing Finance Authority to assist in the future development of low- and moderate-income housing.
– $425,000 for air conditioning for the new Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School gymnasium. Sen. Carlton Dowe and BCB Principal Carver Farrow have been lobbying for the air conditioning for several months. Dowe had written the governor and had raised the issue in several legislative meetings. Turnbull thanked Dowe for his support for the initiative at the Wednesday meeting.
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