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ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Finance chaired by Sen. Kurt Vialet, held a meeting at the Capitol Building on Tuesday to receive testimony from the V.I. Division of Personnel (DOP) and the Dept. of Public Works on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget appropriations.

The Governor’s recommended FY 2019 budget for the Division of Personnel total $42,452,580. Divided into two categories are $41,905,465 for the General Fund and $547,115 for the Indirect Cost Fund. The General Fund breakdown is as follows: $1,931,387 for personnel services, $5,000 capital outlays, $804,136 for fringe benefits, $39,524 supplies, $38,984,618 for other services and charges, $140,800. The Indirect Cost Fund breakdown consists of $373,606 for the personnel services, $149,689 for fringe benefits, $2400 for supplies and $21,420 for other services and charges.

“Can you expound on why there is a significant increase in the General Fund for FY 2019?” asked Sen. Kurt Vialet. Milton Potter, Director of the DOP, said, “In this year’s budget the appropriations are higher because items normally carried under the Miscellaneous Fund is now a part of the General Fund budget.”

Sen. Tregenza Roach stated that according to the Post Audit Report, in the miscellaneous section of the General Fund there is $275,000 for administrative expenses as it relates to the Health Insurance Board. In response, Maureen Venzen, Chief Group Health Insurance for DOP said, “The monies cover stipends, travel, and training of board members. A portion of the funds is allocated for contractual services as well. The board does not have employees.”

As it relates to the Group Health Insurance, thus far, DOP has paid $102,027,226.74 in healthcare premiums. The Government’s portion is $66,317,697.38 and Employees/Retiree share is $35,709,529.36. The total participants in the insurance plan are 13,763 to include government employees and retirees’ territory-wide. “Annually government employees have to take the Health Risk Assessment. Are negotiations completed for the request for proposal (RFP) for a carrier?” inquired Sen. Vialet. Director Potter stated that DOP is finalizing the contractual process and is hoping to complete this by August 2018.

Similarly, the Department of Public Works (DPW) shared the FY 2019 budget. Nelson Petty Jr., Commissioner of DPW, stated that the governor’s recommended budget is $18,550,536 this is an increase in comparison to FY 2018 budget of $18,260,536. Additional monies that DPW will receive are $500,000 from the St. John Capital Improvement Fund, $300,000 from the Tourism Revolving Fund, $1,000,000 from the Anti-Litter Fund and an estimated $17,165,215 in Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Senators present are Kurt Vialet, Tregenza Roach, Dwayne DeGraff, Neville James, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Jean Forde, Myron Jackson, Novelle Francis and Marvin Blyden. Photos: http://www.legvi.org/committeemeetings/Media                                                                ###