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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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PSC Asks for More Funding to Fill Budget

In a brief budget hearing Wednesday, Public Services Commission members asked senators to fund their full fiscal year 2011 budget request of $1.7 million, which is roughly $200,000 more than what’s been recommended by the government.
The PSC doesn’t pull money from the General Fund like most other government entities. Instead it uses the fees it collects throughout the year from the utilities it regulates to cover expenses.
Last year, the commission’s appropriation was $1.5 million, but PSC Executive Director Keithley Joseph explained Wednesday that the extra funds are needed to cover $183,778 in staff salary increases, along with some office repairs and technology upgrades.
Of course, to cover the $1.7 million, the PSC would have to up the fees assessed to the various utilities, which senators would have to approve, since that amount is currently capped at $1.5 million, officials explained.
A proposed fee schedule for the $1.7 million was presented during Wednesday’s hearing in a report generated by the Legislature’s Post Audit division, showing projected assessments for the V.I. Water and Power Authority, V.I. Telephone Co., cable television, the territory’s three franchise ferry companies and the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
The recommended PSC appropriation, included in the FY 2011 executive budget, is for $1.5 million.
Wednesday’s hearing also briefly touched on a range of topics, but one of the senators’ main concerns was that the terms of several sitting PSC board members have expired. Joseph said he has sent a letter to the governor in order to rectify the situation.
Present during Wednesday’s hearing were Sens. Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Wayne James, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, Usie R. Richards and Sammuel Sanes.

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