Feb. 4, 2004 – The Public Finance Authority board, in its first meeting of the year on Wednesday, amended the designation of the capital projects financed with the authority's 2003 Gross Receipts Revenue Bonds.
For the floating of the $270 million in bonds in November, the PFA designated $137 million for capital projects.
As a result of Wednesday's action, $750,000 which had been allocated for renovations and repairs to the Lucinda Millin Home for Children on St. Croix is now allocated for the Queen Louise Home for the Aged on St. Thomas.
Additionally, the board reduced an allocation for St. Croix economic development initiatives to $4 million from $5 million, and increased an allotment to the Health Department for continuing renovations to the Charles Harwood Complex to $5.1 million from $4 million.
The board, meeting at its Frenchtown office complex on St. Thomas, approved the following capital project allocations for St. Croix:
– Up to $4.1 million to the V.I. Justice Department to renovate the Toro Building in Christiansted.
– Up to $2.9 million for the Mon Bijou flood control project.
– Up to $250,000 to Our Town Frederiksted for improving and cleaning historic properties within the community.
– Up to $128,000 for mitigating environmental impact issues noted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Christiansted boardwalk extension.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who by virtue of his office chairs the PFA board, urged approval of the Mon Bijou and Charles Harwood projects. The board approved them unanimously.
The board also approved an allocation to Hovensa of $50.6 million in 2004 Private Activity Bonds. The money is to assist Hovensa in the financing of a solid-waste disposal facility on St. Croix and to pay certain costs relating to the issuance of the bonds.
Kenneth Mapp, PFA director of finance and administration, urged the board to approve the allocation. "Neither the government of the Virgin Islands nor the Public Finance Authority will have debt responsibility with the issuance of these bonds," he pointed out.
Private activity bonds are bonds whose proceeds are intended for use by a trade or business outside the government and are to be repaid from revenues secured from that trade or business.
Hovensa must utilize the allocation by April 1 and notify the PFA of its intent to do so by March 15. The bonds are to be repaid solely from revenues deriving from the financing of the project or from other revenues derived from Hovensa, which also will be responsible for the costs of the bond issuance and an origination fee. Mapp said the company had submitted its application for the funds in December.
The board also allocated $2 million from the 1999 Series A Revenue Bonds for the financing of the Economic Development Authority's Micro-Credit Loan Program, as mandated by law. The act "requires that the proceeds of this financing be restricted for use of residents on the island of St. Croix," Mapp said.
The EDA is responsible for the administering the funds, which are immediately available under the micro-loan program. The governor said the financing will assist small business owners including farmers, fishermen and taxi drivers on St. Croix.
The board also approved the preparation and issuance of a Request of Proposals for the ownership, construction and operation of resort hotels and related facilities on St. Croix with assistance from the PFA.
And it voted to extend the deadline to July 5 for Golden Gaming Developers to submit evidence of financing it has in place in order to be considered for PFA assistance in financing the construction of a casino and convention center on St. Croix.
"They must do what they ought to do to push this forward," Turnbull said of Golden Gaming. "The government cannot do everything; they must also do their part, as we must do our part."
Board members present at the meeting were the governor, Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbill, Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Roy Jackson. Paul Arnold was absent.
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