SENATE APPROVES APPROPRIATION TRANSFERS AND LEASE AGREEMENTS

Published: Sep 6, 2023

ST. THOMAS – Members of the 35th Legislature of the Virgin Islands’ Committee on Budget, Appropriations, and Finance, led by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building. Senators voted in the affirmative on the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget for the Government of the Virgin Islands regarding the appropriation transfers for nine departments and three lease agreements. All approved items will be forwarded to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.

Currently, seven of the departments are requesting transfers from the Personnel and Fringe Budget Category. Senator Frett-Gregory expressed concern that the Senate continues to approve appropriation transfers with significant funding from the Personnel and Fringe Budget Categories while job vacancies remain unfilled in the Government of the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget is requesting a transfer of funds from the Other Services and Charges Budget. The Department of Property and Procurement is requesting a transfer from the Supplies Budget Category. Kimika Woods, Associate Director of Budget Operations for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) noted that OMB has examined and analyzed all appropriation transfer requests to ensure that funds are available within the allotted budgets of the departments and agencies.

Some of the reasons for the appropriation transfers varied from mitigating shortfalls for the procurement of vital operating supplies at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to addressing the deficit of vital programs at the Department of Human Services and catering to off-island behavioral health patients at the Department of Health, according to OMB Director Jenifer O’Neal. Furthermore, the transfers will assist with the final costs for office supplies and equipment for all the offices at OMB, beautification projects for the Department of Public Works, and outstanding worker’s compensation at the Department of Labor. Lastly, the transfers are required to purchase generators for the Department of Property and Procurement, make delinquent payments to vendors owed by the Department of Education, and cover other operational costs such as the cost of transporting bodies for the Department of Justice. Woods mentioned that all appropriation transfers should be available until December 31, 2023. This will ensure processing and payments to suppliers are finalized.

Separately, lawmakers voted and approved three lease agreements between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Inter Island Auto Group, LLC, d/b/a VIP Quick Lube (hereafter “VIP Quick Lube”); Dave Jeffers, d/b/a Dave Trucking Service (hereafter “Dave Trucking”); and Roncan, Inc., d/b/a Sandcastle on the Beach (hereafter “Sandcastle”). Vincent Richards, Deputy Commissioner of the Property and Printing Division for the Virgin Islands Department of Property and Procurement, delivered testimony on behalf of Commissioner Designee Lisa M. Alejandro. The details of the leases are as follows: The terms for all the leases start on the first (1st) of the month, following approval by the Governor and the Virgin Islands Legislature. After their separate grace periods, the rent payable under these leases will be modified annually, including any renewal term, in line with the Consumer Price Index increase established by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. All these lease agreements demand a minimum of $1,000,000 in general liability coverage for all limits.

Lawmakers voted and approved the following:

  • Appropriation Transfer No. 001-2023 – V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 003-2023 – V.I. Department of Human Services
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 004-2023 – V.I. Department of Health
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 005-2023 – V.I. Office of Management and Budget
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 007-2023 – V.I. Department of Public Works
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 008-2023 – V.I. Department of Labor
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 009-2023 – V.I. Department of Property and Procurement
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 010-2023 – V.I. Department of Education
  • Appropriation Transfer No. 011-2023 – V.I. Department of Justice

Senators voted with a favorable recommendation for the follow lease agreements:

  • Bill No 35-0067 – An Act approving and the lease agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands, acting through its Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Inter Island Auto Group, LLC d/b/a VIP Quick Lube for Improved Parcel No. 70 Submarine Base, No. 6A Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, to be used as a new and used car dealership, repair shop, importer of goods, retail shops, store, and for other related purposes (Proposed by: Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr.)
  • Bill No. 35-0095 – An Act approving the Lease Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands, acting through its Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Dave Jeffers d/b/a Dave Trucking Service for Parcel No. 142-B Estate Anna’s Retreat, No. 1 New Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, consisting of approximately 6, 627.393 U.S. sq. ft. or 0.144 U.S. acre zoned “P” as shown on O.L.G. File No. D9-8646-T012 to be used for the purpose of operating the general offices of the trucking company and for other related purposes (Proposed by: Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr.)
  • Bill No. 35-0104 – An Act approving the Lease Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands, acting through the Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Roncan, Inc. d/b/a Sand Castle on the Beach to lease Plot No. 128-B Two Brothers, Smithfield, and Hesselberg, West End Quarter and Plot No. 129 Two Brothers, Smithfield, and Hesselberg, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands (Proposed by: Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr.)

Senators present at the meeting are Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Marvin A. Blyden, Jr., Diane T. Capehart, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Ray Fonseca, Javan E. James, Sr., Samuel Carrión.

The Division of Public Affairs is committed to providing the community with accurate information on legislative proceedings and other events at the Legislature of the Virgin Islands.

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