St. CroixÃ¢Ë†â€™The Committee on Finance, Chaired by Senator Kurt A. Vialet, received testimony on the FY 2022 Executive Budget from the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) on Wednesday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room, St. Croix.
The Governor has recommended a General Fund Lump Sum for VIWMA of $35,000,000 for FY 22 which is $10,000,000 above FY 2021 of $25,000,000.
The appropriated funds for FY 2022:
(1) General Fund-$35,000,000
(2) St. John Capital Improvement Fund-$1,000,000
(3) Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund-$300,000
(4) Antilitter Beautification Fund-$5,000,000
(5) Sewer Funds-$1,000,000
According to Roger Merritt, Jr., Executive Director of VIWMA, the Authority has worked with local and federal agencies to review damages and formulate projects, resulting in the obligation of 16 FEMA category A and B solid waste projects to date.
He said these projects total $16,095,847.05. Ten (10) projects were reimbursed, five (5) fully refunded, and five(5) partially reimbursed. Executive Director Merritt further indicated that the total reimbursement to the Authority thus far is $11,053,939.17. He said that project worksheets currently amounting to $5,041,097.88 are being reviewed or processed for payment to the Authority by VITEMA.
Merritt, Jr., pointed out that the Department of Planning and Natural Resources has been awarded a solid Waste Supplemental Grant for $6,000,000. He said the funding was provided from the USEPA under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted on February 9, 2018, intended for states affected by the two category five (5) Hurricanes in September 2017. He said the grant would further support developing a solid waste management program in the Territory, develop and implement a sustainable waste materials management program.
Merritt, Jr., said They have successfully obliged 38 wastewater projects to date totaling $14,177,966.96. The 23 reimbursed projects are:
(1) 17 fully reimbursed
(2) Six (6) projects partially reimbursed
(3) Five (5) projects are currently being reviewed and verified by VITEMA/FEMA for reimbursement totaling-$3,157,255.29
(4) The total reimbursements to the Authority thus far, including both fully and partially reimbursement is-$4,325,542.96
(5) Four (4) projects were reduced by $713,378.80 due to insurance proceeds received.
Regarding the Department of Interior (DOI)-Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the Executive Director said the DOI had awarded VIWMA $402,739.00 under the 2020 CIP and $705,977.00 under the 2021 CIP. He added that the 2020 grant would support the standardization and upgrade of the Humbug Pump Station on St. Croix and the Cancryn Pump Station Force Main sewer line repairs on St. Thomas.
The 2021 grant would support the procurement and installation of equipment to upgrade and maintain the Harold G. Thompson Wastewater Treatment Plant on St. Croix. He pointed out that currently, VIWMA Engineers are reviewing the approved scope and cost estimate before soliciting an invitation to bid.
According to Merritt, Jr., VIWMA is awaiting project approval from DPNR for Krause Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Plant/Interceptor on St. Croix. Once project approval is issued, VIWMA will advertise the invitation for bid. He said this project funding covers the years 2013,2014,2016 and 2017 and has an estimated budget of $4,962,862.00.
VIWMA manages the TerritoryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s solid waste collection, transportation, and disposal network.
At WednesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s budget hearing, senators were Chairman Kurt A. Vialet, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Marvin A. Blyden, Javan E. James, Carla J. Joseph, Milton E. Potter, and Genevieve R. Whitaker.