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This is the first in an ongoing series of articles imagining the big, positive changes that could affect people’s lives from little, inexpensive changes here and there, building a more utopian U.S. Virgin Islands.
After a second emergency meeting on Monday, the governor and senators agreed in principle to make an emergency appropriation later this week to pay immediate past-due accounts to Vitol to restore propane supplies and keep the electricity flowing at the V.I. Water and Power Authority.
Medicaid funding for the USVI appears safe now that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2020 federal government funding bill including the money. The Senate is expected to pass it and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign it.
Without the 2.5 cent base rate hike the Public Services Commission denied on Thursday, the V.I. Water and Power Authority will default on its debt to Vitol, cutting off propane and forcing it to revert to oil, which will up the cost of fuel by 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
A new rule imposed by President Donald Trump that many sources project will take Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program benefits – formerly known as Food Stamps – away from more than 700,000 Americans, will not immediately impact the territory.
On Thursday, Congress extended vital Medicaid funding for the U.S. Virgin Islands by one month, briefly holding off damaging cuts to critical health services to the territory's most vulnerable, but also to hospital funds and, ultimately, tax revenues and economic activity.
Students at St. Croix Central High are now entering their second week without class and with no end in sight, due to ongoing complaints of an unpleasant smell. Central High School will remain closed on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
WAPA is losing money and swimming in debt, with very high electricity costs. Decades of hospitals and government agencies using it an involuntary lender by not paying power bills have starved it, forcing chronic delays in maintenance and upgrades. But not all is doom and gloom.
WAPA is swimming in debt. Where did it come from? What can be done about it? Some in the PSC, Senate and the public feel this debt is the result of mismanagement. Is it? And how much does it matter, if we have to pay up anyway?
It will surprise no one to hear that finances at the V.I. Water and Power Authority are not good. But can it become sustainable? Is the news all bad or is there sunlight?
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