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Monday, January 25, 2021
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Lack of VIFS Fine Collecting Comes Under Fire

Lawmakers put Virgin Islands Fire Service Director Daryl George Sr. under an intense line of questioning during Thursday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, during which several budget concerns were raised.

V.I. Government Lags on Already Budgeted Capital Projects

More than 80 U.S. Virgin Islands capital improvement projects, for which funding has already been identified and budgets set, have not been started.

Senators Forward Bryan’s $8.2 Million Request for Paul Joseph Stadium

The Senate Finance Committee approved an $8.2 million appropriation that, if given final approval, could finally complete the Paul E. Joseph Stadium project.
Wayne Biggs, the EDA’s assistant chief executive officer and tax expert Erika Kellerhals of Kellerhals, Ferguson, Kroblin testify at Senate Wednesday. (V.I. Legislature photo)

Senators Move to Limit Hiring Requirements for Specialized V.I. Tax Breaks

The coming of the International Private Bank to St. Croix was an economic boom for the town of Christiansted, and senators expressed hope that by clarifying the Economic Development Authority’s regulations they can bring in more entities like it.
Sen. Kurt Vialet chairs the Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the USVI Legislature)

Finance Committee Moves 31 Appropriation Bills

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday moved 31 bills involving the appropriation of money and fiscal year budgets for government entities to the Rules and Judiciary Committee. The action took two hours.

Chief Justice: Backlogged Court Cases May Soon Become a Thing of the Past

V.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rhys Hodge told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that efforts are being made to reduce the extensive backlog of court cases by utilizing an electronic filing system and furthering what he calls “administration unification” of the Supreme and Superior Courts, part of a law passed in July 2016.
From left, USVI Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson, Executive Director Daryl Griffith, and Chief Financial Officer Valdez Shelford testify before the Senate Finance Committee. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

USVI Has Housing Crisis, HFA Head Tells Senators

Lawmakers and administration officials agreed that housing in the U.S. Virgin Islands is in crisis, while talking Tuesday during the Senate's Committee on Finance hearing on the the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget for the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority.
George Dudley testifies before the Senate Finance Committee. (Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Bill Seeks to Expand Hotel Development Act

A bill to amend the USVI's Hotel Development Act, allowing hotels that suffered storm damage to use the financial tools to help finance their recovery, was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Nathan Simmonds, director of finance administration at the Public Finance Authority, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee Monday. (Photo by the V.I. Legislature)

PFA Looking into Reprogramming Unspent Capital Projects Funds

The Public Finance Authority is exploring ways to address roughly $115 million in unexpended capital projects funding, a chronic problem among local agencies. Reprogramming them for other purposes is not off the table, Nathan Simmonds, the director of finance administration at the Public Finance Authority, told lawmakers Monday.

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