St. Croix–The Committee on Finance, Chaired by Senator Kurt A. Vialet, received testimony on the FY 2022 Executive Budget from the Office of the Territorial Public Defender (OTPD), Legal Services of the Virgin Islands (LSVI), the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB), the Virgin Islands Labor Management Committee (LMC), and the Virgin Islands Lottery (VIL) on Friday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room, St. Croix.
Samuel Joseph, Chief Public Defender, OTPD said, their Fiscal Year 2022 budget request is $5,230,554. The OTPD is not in line to receive funds from the Miscellaneous Section or Federal Funds for Fiscal Year 2022. AS of July 31, 2020, the actual expenses are $3,474,274.23. As of June 11, 2021, OTPD received $3,666,137 in allotments and has an unallotted amount of $1,222,231.
According to Joseph, the OTPD owns its St. Croix building. The office is currently in the closing stage of the purchase of the building. He pointed out that OTPD was established in 1973 to represent appointed indigent criminal defendants that appear before the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Supreme Court.
Shelby King Gaddy, Executive Director and CEO, LSVI, said that for Fiscal Year 2021, the Governor’s budget included $1,432,700.00 for Legal Services, and the Fiscal Year 2022 request is the same $1,432,700.
According to Gaddy, the sum of $1,432,700 will only allow them to maintain the status quo at their present level of service delivery. She added that they still need to fill the managing attorney position in the St. Croix office. Presently the total number of LSVI attorneys is six (6), with three (3) in St. Croix and three (3) in St. Thomas.
Zandra Petersen, Executive Director, Certified Hearing Officer, and Mediator, PERB, said the Fiscal Year 2022 recommended budget is $1,496,909.00, which includes Personnel Services-$781,520.00, Fringe Benefits-$353,014, Office and Operating Supplies-$35,900.00, Other Services and Charges-$309,875, and Utilities-$16,600.00.
The Governor has recommended from the General Fund $185,000 for Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget for the Virgin Islands Labor-Management Committee (VILMC). This recommendation is an increase of $10,000 over Fiscal Year 2021 of $175,000. According to the Post Audit Division of the Legislature, it has not received any information from VILMC. All information contained in this analysis is historical data.
Raymond Williams, Executive Director, VIL said, the VIL Commission approved budget for Fiscal Year 2022 projects totaled operating revenue at $21,858,069 and comprised of the following: Traditional Game-$9,160,000, Compensation from Contractors-$12,676,569 (Southern Gaming-$11,265,204 and Caribbean Lottery Services-$1,411,365), and Other Income-$21,500.00.
According to Williams, a 14-percent increase is projected for the Traditional Game based on revenue trends and other planned marketing initiatives and a 3.32-percent increase in Compensation from Contractors. He added that as of June 30, 2021, $8,562,161 was generated from the Traditional Game Sales, $8,628,301 received from Southern Gaming, and $1,151,841 from Caribbean Lottery Services.
He pointed out that based on actuals as of June 30, 2021, they project a 32.65-percent increase in Traditional Game revenue, which is 34.02-percent more than the Fiscal Year 2020. Also projected is a 3.51-percent increase in payments received from Southern Gaming and a 15.11-percent increase in revenues from Caribbean Lottery.
Total Direct Costs said Williams, projected at $8,177,080. This includes prize expense, printing, drawing operations, Powerball/Mega Million drawing cost, dealers’ bonuses and expenses, and bonus prizes for their Extra-Ordinary Drawings. He added that as a result of in-house printing, the total savings on printing and transportation as of June 30, 2021, is $55,078.18.
According to Williams, total Operating Expenses are projected at $15,285,827 with an operating income of $6,572,242. He added that Mandatory transfers for the Fiscal Year 2022 are projected as follows: Educational Initiative Fund-$1,901,484, Pharmaceutical Assistance Program-$1,901,484, GERS Retirees Bonus Fund-$1,267,656, and Horse Racing Improvement Fund-$337,956.
Although not mandated, according to Williams, $100,000 is budgeted for the Office of Veterans Affairs to provide administrative costs. A total of $3,953,298.75 was paid in mandated transfers to date for Fiscal Year 2021.
After accounting for interest income, the VIL Executive Director concluded the project a total expense of $20,943,459, resulting in a Net Income before Contribution to the General Fund of $1,143,262. The contribution to the General Fund is calculated per the Virgin Islands Code as 20-percent of net income, which amounts to $228,652. According to him, the net project income to the Virgin Islands of $914,610.
Senators at Friday’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 Carrión, and Novelle E. Francis, Jr.
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS TAXICAB COMMISSION SHARES AN UPDATE, THE COMMITTEE APPROVES SEVERAL MEASURES
ST. THOMAS - Members of the Committee on Government Operations, Veterans Affairs, and Consumer Protection, chaired by Senator Carla J. Joseph, convened a meeting at the Capitol Building. Lawmakers were updated on the status of the Taxicab Commission (VITCC) regarding...