Government House communications Director Richard Motta announced upcoming public meetings to discuss Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s proposed legislation to deal with abandoned and derelict properties in the Virgin Islands Monday at the governor’s regularly scheduled media briefing.
On St. Thomas, the town hall meeting will be Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at Charlotte Amalie High School auditorium and on St. Croix, the location will be St. Croix Educational Complex auditorium Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.
“I encourage the community to come out and participate in the discussion on how, collectively, we can address this long-standing issue,” Motta said.
Basically, the governor wants courts to appoint a conservator or receiver to oversee the renovation and development of the neglected property. The homeowner would not lose ownership at any time, and eventually, after the receiver recoups a return on the investment, the owner again takes possession of the property. Motta said the legislation has been drafted but will not be submitted until after public input.
Motta also outlined the supplemental budget of $25 million from the General Fund, which the governor submitted to the 35th Legislature last week.
Some of the funds will be used to pay retroactive wages to eligible current and former government employees. Also, $5 million will be set aside for the Department of Public Works from the transportation trust fund for road maintenance – funds through the V.I. Public Finance Authority previously held in the General Fund.
Also, included in the supplemental budget, $300,000 is being reprogrammed from a fund for the pier at Kings Alley in Christiansted, which the government no longer owns, to libraries and museum facilities and the Hull Bay boat ramp and parking improvements.
Additionally, the Office of Veterans Affairs will receive $118,800 to purchase crypts for St. Croix.
Motta also announced the Farm Service Agency is accepting applications from farmers who signed up for the Crop Disaster Assistance Program in 2022 and have suffered through the recent drought period. Farmers can contact Madison Charles at 340-773-9146, ext. 100.
The FSA also requested that all livestock deaths due to drought conditions be reported to the agency.
Separately, the division of V.I. Personnel will hold open enrollment and allow changes to life insurance plans until Sept. 18. For information about in-person sessions to help retirees and active employees, go to www.dopusvi.org or GVIwellness.org.