Published: Jun 20, 2024

ST. CROIX – The Committee on Budget, Appropriations, and Finance, under the leadership of Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory met in the Fritz E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room. Lawmakers received testimony on the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 Budget for the Virgin Islands of the United States for the Bureau of Information Technology, the Elections Systems of the Virgin Islands and the Board of Elections.

Rupert Ross, Director of the Bureau of Information Technology detailed its Fiscal Year 2025 Budget of $11,799,620. This includes $1,950,480 in personnel services, $827,907 in Fringe Benefits, $122,000 in Supplies, $1,277,660 in Other Services, and $250,000 in Other Services. The Bureau requests $3,202,915 to renew its Microsoft Support Contract and enterprise licensing agreement. Additionally, $3,206,206 is requested to support critical areas and initiatives essential for the seamless functioning and advancement of the agency. $962,452 has been assigned for the renewal of important software and licenses and subscriptions, as well as advisory services critical for the continued functionality and efficiency of the department.  The bureau has 29 positions. There are 14 classified positions. 15 positions are exempt. There are currently five vacancies. budget request also includes a salary increase for all personnel and overtime.

Carolyn Fawkes, Supervisor of Elections of the Election Systems of the Virgin Islands delivered its proposed budget of $3,427,860. This includes $3,000,000 for the Office of the Supervisor of Elections and $427,860.003 for the Board of Elections. The Office of the Supervisor has 12 employees, while the Board of Elections has 1 employee. There are 8 classified positions. There are 5 exempt positions. There is one vacant position. For the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, 53% of the budget is spent on Salaries and Fringe Benefits for eight classified employees and three exempt employees.  36% is spent on other services, inclusive of professional services, training, rental of land, building, Capital outlays accounts for 6%, Communication and Security, Supplies is 3% of the Budget, and Utilities is 5%. For Fiscal Year 2025, Personnel Services is $1,400,000, capital outlays is $30,000, fringe benefits, $394,000, Supplies, $65,000, professional services and training, $1,025,500,00, and utility services $85,000.  Classified staff are expected to receive a pay increase.

The Board of Elections’ budget of $427,860.00 is broken down into $160,760 for personnel services, $36,600 for supplies, $2,000 for supplies, and $268,500 on other services, training and stipends. 35% of the Board of Elections budget is spent on Salaries and Fringe Benefits for the Administrative Assistant, Stipends, Supplies, Voter Education, outreach, legal fees, election specific training and certification-election center. The office of the Supervisor also requested that a supplemental budget of $200,000 is needed to help with the 2024 General Election, which is inclusive of the Sixth Constitutional Convention.

Senators present at today’s committee hearing included Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Dwayne M. DeGraff, and Ray Fonseca, and Franklin D. Johnson.

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