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VIPA's Fiscal Picture is Looking Better

May 20, 2004 –– Things are looking up in the V. I. Port Authority's fiscal year 2004 financial picture, however, one of VIPA's units is carrying all the others.
The St. Thomas Marine Division is the only unit operating at a profit. The overall operating profit of the authority currently at $410,000 is backed by the $5.2 million profit under which the St. Thomas Marine unit is operating. VIPA's Bournefield and non-aeronautical operating revenues for fiscal year 2004 thus far are $230,000, an 8.8 percent increase from fiscal year 2003.
All other VIPA units are operating at a loss –– Marine St. Croix at $1.6 million; Aviation St. Croix at $2.8 million and Aviation St. Thomas at $230,000.
These figures were presented by Judith James, VIPA acting finance director, at the authority's monthly board meeting Wednesday.
In fiscal year 2003, the authority experienced a $6.2 million loss, but increased revenues and decreased expenses have been a trend through fiscal year 2004. VIPA cut some salaries last year by 10 percent in order to offset the huge operating deficit.
Aviation revenue decreased by $278,000 as of March 31, or 3 percent, compared to March 2003. The figures reflect the effects of landing fee decreases VIPA instituted last October after the authority paid off the outstanding bond issue for the Cyril E. King Airport terminal. The fees had been raised in February 2003, to a chorus of complaints from airlines, hotels and most of the rest of the local tourism industry.
In other matters, the board approved five-year leases for Bob Lynch Trucking Inc. on St. Thomas, O 'Neal's Transport Inc. and James River Aviation LLC on St. Croix.
The Frederiksted Revitalization Project met a snag, Darlan Brin, VIPA executive director, said, regarding heightening of a section of the Frederiksted pier. The Public Finance Authority has said raising a section of the pier is necessary, but Brin has not yet been presented with evidence backing up the claim, which, he said would be very costly. "Until we discuss the technical information provided to us, we should not endorse that section of the project."
Board members Leslie Milliner, Robert O 'Connor, Hector Pegreuro, Dean Plaskett, Planning and Natural Resources commissioner, Chairwoman Pamela Richards, James Rogers and Attorney General Iver Stridiron attended the meeting. Wayne Callwood, Public Works Department commissioner, was absent.

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