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Summer Programs Moving Forward, Sludge Stalled

April 13, 2005 – The V.I. Waste Management Authority staff was eager to get approval for the summer programs it took over from the Anti-Litter and Beautification Commission and for purchasing some sludge processing units, but the board of directors had a hard time keeping a quorum Wednesday so it could take official action.
The board meeting was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at the Cormorant Beach Club on St. Croix. Board member and acting Public Works commissioner, George Phillips was one of the few people who had arrived by that time.
The meeting finally started at 10:45 and was over five minutes later when Phillips walked out.
Phillips had moved that an executive session be brought to the beginning of the meeting. When that motion failed, he left. The seven-member board needs at least four members present for a quorum.
Winston Adams, board chair, decided to keep the meeting going for informational purposes only.
John Green reported on the Clean and Green program on St. Thomas and St. John and the Youth Environmental Services program on St. Croix.
He said each of these programs employed about 125 students.
The two programs were initially street clean-up programs, but they have evolved into specialized clean-up programs at schools and beaches.
Green said the programs were already about a month and half behind schedule.
Board member Keith Richards questioned whether the money for the programs was available.
Green said each program would cost about $1.3 million and each program had already received over $500,000.
Gloria Canegata-Waterman, vice-chair, asked that better communication be maintained between this program and the schools. She said, "Communication has been a problem. Because of poor communication your efforts have not met with the welcome arms it deserves." She said school principals were sometimes surprised when the teams in these programs show up. She said the principals sometimes had other maintenance projects scheduled that conflicted with the youth programs.
Iver Stridiron, general consul for the board, said many families have come to depend on this extra income earned during the summer. The students in the St. Croix program earn $6 an hour. The students on St. Thomas/St. John earn minimum wage — $5.15 per hour.
Sonya Nelthropp, Waste Management Authority interim executive director, gave a report on the availability of two used units for sludge processing. She said the units would cost about $585,000 new, but these units, which were used as demonstration units, were available for $320,000. She said federal money would pay half the costs of the units.
Nelthropp said the only reason to speed-up the purchase of the units was to keep the vendor from selling them to someone else.
Phillips returned in the afternoon to take part in the meeting and the board voted to go ahead with the Clean and Green program and the Youth Environmental Services.
However, the full board wanted more information from Nelthropp before going ahead with the purchase of the sludge processing units.

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