THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT & BUDGET, DEPT. OF FINANCE, AND THE PUBLIC FINANCE AUTHORITY SHARES FY 2021 BUDGET

Published: Jun 17, 2020

ST. THOMAS – Members of the Committee on Finance chaired by Sen. Kurt A. Vialet convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building on Wednesday to receive testimony on the FY 2021 proposed Executive Budget. Invited testifiers were the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Finance, and the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority.

“This marks the first of many meetings regarding the proposed FY 2021 Budget. The finances in the Territory are very scarce. Therefore, I hope that each department or agency that comes before the Senate will present a lean budget,” said Sen. Vialet.

The recommended FY 2021 Budget for the Office of Management and Budget totals $25.9 million. Not only did OMB Director Jenifer O’Neal defend the proposed budget but she noted that OMB strategically crafted a reformed budget for each department in alignment with the Governor’s Management Agenda, the Executive Order 497-2020, and the OMB Memorandum 06-2020 to mandate each agency to develop and implement an Agency Reform Plan. Sen. Novelle Francis inquired about the timeline to complete the performance-based budget. O’Neal indicated that the process began with the Agency Reform Plan, and there is still a need to hire personnel to review and overlook the plans. Separately, The FY 2021 budget breakdown is as follows: $24 million for the General Fund, $300,000 for the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund, and $1.5 million for the Indirect Cost Fund.

Furthermore, O’Neal stated that the FY 2021 budget includes $8.9 million for supplies, $290,000 for capital outlay, $118 million for personnel/fringe benefits. The budget is also inclusive of $1.5 million for Competitive Grants, $2.7 million for Third-Party Fiduciary, $4.8 million for the Economic Development Authority, $2.6 million for wage adjustments, and $5 million for critical vacancies. In response to Sen. Janelle Sarauw’s inquiry whether the proposed budget is sufficient, O’Neal indicated that additional monies are needed and that’s the reason why $5 million is required to fill critical vacancies. Sen. Vialet disclosed that despite the previous allocations of funds for vacancies, the monies were not utilized. “The Senate has funded vacancies for the past four years and each government agency made excuses as to why no one was hired,” Sen. Vialet said.

Consequently, Kirk Callwood, Sr., Executive Director of the V.I. Public Finance Authority stated that the recommended budget for FY 2021 totals $10 million. In comparison to FY 2020, this is a budget increase of $1.5 million. Callwood noted that the budget request intends to fund business operations inclusive of payroll, office, and administrative expenses. The budget breakdown is as follows: $2,685,000 for Administrative Services, $6,315,000 for Professional Service Agreements, and $1,000,000 for the Office of Disaster Recovery. Lastly, Kirk Callwood, Sr., Commissioner for the Department of Finance noted that the recommended FY 2021 is comprised of four major funds: $17,973,747 for the General Fund, $1,102,525 for the Government Insurance Fund, $112,023 for the Indirect Cost Fund, and $79,582 for the Data Processing Fund.                                                                   ###

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