ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Finance chaired by Senator Kurt A. Vialet, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building on Thursday, and received testimony on the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget for the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States (GVI). Invited testifiers are officials from the Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation (DSPR), the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC), and the Office of the Adjutant General (OAG).
The Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation proposed FY 2022 General Fund budget totals $8,986,654, according to DSPR Commissioner Calvert White. Defending the budget, White stated that the monies support sports tourism, parks, recreational activities/events, and facilities. Furthermore, the overall budget includes the operational costs for three major divisions: $3,58 7,356 for the Division of Facilities, Parks, and Open Spaces, $3,265,058 for the Division of Sports and Recreation, and $2,024,240 for the Office of the Commissioner. The FY 2022 budget breakdown is as follows: $4,774,271 for personnel services, $2,692,469 for fringe benefits, $799,804.00 for utility services, $110,000 for Miscellaneous Grants Appropriation, $290,137 for supplies, and $319,973 for other services and charges. Regarding federal funding, White indicated that DSPR received $400,000 from the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act. This ensured the implementation of safety measures such as the sneeze guard shields, temperature scanners, and handwashing stations. Additionally, DSPR was awarded over $30 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant for Disaster Recovery Projects.
The governor’s recommended proposed FY 2022 budget for the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee totals $150,000. However, VIOC President Angel Morales stated that a total of $885,800 is required for the upcoming fiscal year. Angel noted that one of the major goals for VIOC is the construction of a Multi-purpose Sports Facility. The facility will not only serve as the Headquarters but will enable VIOC to host regional competitions in the Virgin Islands. Some of the events held this year are inclusive of the International Regatta and the International Optimist Regatta held on St. Thomas. The FY 2022 requested budget breakdown is as follows: $56,000 for personnel services, $4,000 for supplies, $820,500 for other services and charges, $300 for utilities, and $5,000 in capital outlays.
The proposed FY 2022 budget for the Office of the Adjutant General totals $3,134,411. In comparison to the FY 2021 budget of $1,1913,127, this is an increase of $1,221,284 for FY 2022, according to OAG Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands and the Commander of the Virgin Islands National Guard Major General Kodjo S. Knox-Limbacker. Defending the 64% increase, Knox-Limbacker stated that funds are required to sustain the Army and Air National Guard Joint Force. The FY 2022 budget breakdown is as follows: $637,735 for personnel services, $253,055 for fringe benefits, $309,330 supplies, $1,379,035 for other services & charges, $190,000 for utilities, and $365,256 for capital outlays. Knox-Limbacker mentioned that some of the accomplishments for FY 2021 are reducing time to process documents from 30 to 5 days, ongoing repairs at Joint Force Headquarters, and completing the renovations at Estate Nazareth Armory on St Thomas.
Senators present: Kurt A. Vialet, Milton E. Potter, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Samuel Carrión, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Carla J. Joseph, and Franklin D. Johnson, Marvin Blyden. ###