St. Croix–The Committee on Finance, Chaired by Senator Kurt A. Vialet, received testimony on the FY 2022 Executive Budget from the Department of Property and Procurement (DPP), University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and, Research and Technology Park (RTP) on Monday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room, St. Croix.
Anthony Thomas, Commissioner, DPP, said the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget in the General Fund is $12,307,625. In addition, DPP is requesting funding from other appropriated funds such as the Business and Commercial Properties Revolving fund for $9,830,071. He also asked for funding from the indirect Cost Fund for $185,000 and a total of $2,760,00 for non-appropriated funds. This non-appropriated fund is the Central Motor Pools, Central Stores and Warehouse, Gasoline, Coupon Fund, and printing and production funds. The total he added of all these funds amounted to $25,082,696.
According to Thomas, the insurance brokerage firm of Marshall & Sterling, St. Croix Inc., provides the Government with insurance brokerage services for all risks of direct physical loss or damage, including earthquakes, windstorms, and volcanic action flood, sea wave, and storm surge.
He pointed out that the 2021-2022 policy was renewed on June 10, 2021 and runs until June 2022. Insured assets totaled $1,134,353,775; however, he added, during this cycle, the Government will conduct the long-awaited risk assessment to make the required adjustments to the existing insurance schedule.
According to Thomas, the Department receives funding from the VI Cares Act Grant for $2,196,202 for the DepartmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s e-Procurement Solution. To date, the Department has drawn down the sum of $581,028 for payments to Periscope Holding, Inc., to acquire this enterprise-wide solution, he concluded.
Dr. David Hall, President, UVI, said the sum of $25,405,458 is for general operations for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022. This includes salaries and benefits for the regular and temporary employees and operating expenditures under the Virgin Islands Code.
He pointed out that, aside from debt service and Free Tuition funding, their Fiscal Year 2021-2022 appropriations request includes approximately $6.8 million in funding for other programs and initiatives critical to the UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission and TerritoryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s transformation. SBDC matching funds, Senior CitizenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tuition assistance, Val and Sal scholarships, CELL, Green Technology, Hospitality & Tourism Management, University Bound, John Brewers Beach maintenance and security, Bachelor of Science in Nursing on the St. Croix Campus, Agriculture Science, and Aquaculture program, MasterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Program in Social Work on the St. Croix Campus, and VI-EPSCoR Matching Fund.
According to Dr. Hall, some of the Fiscal Year 2021 accomplishments includes:
(1.) Through various legislation to address the pandemic, UVI received during this period over $19 million to support students, address revenue shortfalls, and remediate the presence and consequences of Covid-19
(2.) The 2020 Census for the US Virgin Islands was completed during this fiscal year with an assigned budget of $21.2 million. Over 650 individuals were employed to work in the offices and field.
(3.) The University received $250,00 from Diageo North America to create a permanent endowment fund and provide financial aid grants to talented students across different disciplines and majors.
(4.) UVI was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Minority Research and Education Program and MUREP Institutional Research Opportunity) for two years to support their development of an Engineering concentration in the Bachelor of Science in Physics program.
Peter Chapman, Executive Director, and CEO, RTPark, said they are a self-funded, fully autonomous quasi-public entity and will not be requesting any General Fund operating support from the Virgin Islands government this year.
According to Chapman, this year, based on projections through the end of the fiscal year, they will generate approximately 7.5 million through fees and philanthropic commitments received from companies that are attracted to the Territory, representing an increase of $481,100 over last year. He added that roughly half of these revenues support their $4.2 million annual program and personnel expenses. Another $1 million goes towards their legacy debt obligations, and just over $2.3 million supports UVI.
This unprecedented support for the University by the RTPark pointed out the CEO is something they are incredibly proud of because UVI is a significant source of the talent they hope will fuel the growth of their tech sector.
Senators at MondayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s budget hearing were Chairman Kurt A. Vialet, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Marvin A. Blyden, Javan E. James, Sr., Carla J. Joseph, Samuel Carrion, Novelle E. Francis, Jr. and Genevieve R. Whitaker.