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CDBG FUNDING, NEW INSURANCE PACKAGE ARE LAW

Sept. 30, 2001 – On Sunday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed two bills passed by the 24th Legislature last week: one approving projects to be funded with $2.189 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money, and the other ratifying new medical and dental health insurance plans for government workers.
The Senate approved the 37 CDBG projects sought by the administration intact on Tuesay, after having decided on Sept. 10 to reject the proposed allocations and reprogram the distribution themselves.
The lawmakers unanimously approved the new insurance package Friday, 12-0, at a special session called by Turnbull for the purpose. The previous contract expired on Sunday, which is when the new coverage took effect.
Distribution of the CDBG money will benefit 18 projects on St. Thomas, 14 on St. Croix and five on St. John. The amounts of money are equal for both districts — $875,600 for St. Croix and $803,950 for St. Thomas plus $71,650 for St. John. For a list of the agencies and projects which are being funded, see the earlier Source story, "Governor seeks CDBG funds for 37 projects".
In a letter to Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Turnbull said he hopes the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, which provides CDBG funding, "will increase our share of the block grant monies or grant us special consideration for additional funding in the future."
In the new insurance package, medical coverage is through Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. (CIGNA), and medical coverage is with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
The measures provide "wider coverage" for government employees, a release from Government House stated. While the government will pay more for the new coverage than it did under the old plan, the release noted, "it will not pass along the cost to the employees." The governor proposed in his Fiscal Year 2002 budget and the Legislature approved the appropriation of $12 million to cover executive branch salary and health insurance premium increases.
The insurance contract is renewable for four years, the release said.

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