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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.
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.
Sunday’s 31st running of the Beauty and the Beast Triathlon saw cooler weather, calmer seas and better road conditions than some previous years, especially when the event – America’s Paradise and Ironman 70.3 – was held in May, competitors said.
The plight of the homeless was the topic of the song that captured the Junior Calypso King competition for 16-year-old Brian Chase. Telling the story of several homeless people living on the streets of St. Croix, Chase, put on a rousing performance.
The facility will provide up to 20 emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
Tourism has been rebounding in the territory since the 2017 hurricanes. Air visitors are up by 43 percent in the past year, hotel tax revenue collections are up 40 percent and cruise ship arrivals are up only 3.8 percent, to just under a million passengers.
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?
For three days this month, more than 130 technology business owners, government officials and local stakeholders gathered on St. Croix to attend a business summit presented by the University of the Virgin Islands' Research and Technology Park.