During its first meeting of 2016 this week, the Public Finance Authority board authorized a series of payments for everything from the completion of the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library project to building renovations that would allow for the relocation of three government offices.
This would be the second phase of renovations at 19-20a Kongens Gade, a property next to Government House that was purchased under the former administration. According to PFA board members, the request was made by Government House Business and Administration Director Nellie Varlack and will eventually allow for the relocation of the office’s Communications and Business divisions, along with the Bureau of Economic Research. Renovations in this phase will be made to the second floor of the building.
Few details were given about the Turnbull Library payment, which was approved by the board. The entire library project came under public scrutiny in August when it was tied to cases pending against Balbo Construction owner Gerard Castor, but PFA Executive Director Valdamier Collens said this week that the authorization given this week only covers outstanding invoices from Nimal, LLC and Jaredian Design that have been part of the close out process.
Another $563,000 also was approved by the board for the creation of new administrative office space at the St. Croix Industrial Park for the Bureau of Corrections. To cover the project, the money will be coming from three sources, according Collens. Along with pulling $358,956 from a fund set aside for gym and library repairs at Charlotte Amalie High School, another $126,250 will be taken from a fund set up under Public Works for the purchase of generators for various government agencies. The remaining funds will come from a Tourism Department project, the development of the Oscar Henry House on St. Croix, which Collens said had been put on hold.
All three projects were funded from 2003 gross receipts bond proceeds, which were authorized by the PFA.
In other news, the board also approved:
-A contract with Swiftkurrent Boston Digital for the provision of digital communications services to various government agencies; the contract is not to exceed $230,000, according to the board’s resolution.
-A $1.4 million lease renewal for the Frederiksted Mall; the lease is for 20 years.
-$175,000 for the Frederiksted Economic Revitalization Project.