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WMA Asks for Bigger Budget

Aug 18, 2005 – George Phillips, acting director of the Department of Public Works, and Sen. Neville James were praising the creation of the Waste Management Authority even before the authority's budget hearing began Wednesday.
"It was long overdue," Phillips said of the authority. James said he was pro-Waste Management Authority, which was formed in 2004 to take over some of the responsibilities of the Public Works Department.
However, when May Adams Cornwall, executive director of WMA, said that the authority would need $32.1 million for its budget this year, a 3 percent increase over last year, the response was not so enthusiastic.
Cornwall said that the recommended budget of $26.4 million would not cover all the authority's needs.
"Specifically, it does not include funding for priorities such as management and administrative personnel services; vehicles for enforcement officers, equipment maintenance material, supplies and spare parts inventory; fuel; utilities; insurance; training and certification; physical exams and testing; and fines and penalties."
The biggest chunk of the requested money would go to salaries and fringe benefits – $9.6 million. Cornwall said the authority was authorized to employ 211 people, but at present was employing 156 people.
Documentation provided by the Post Audit division showed that the request from the General Fund was actually down from $23.3 million requested last year to $21.1 million.
Cornwall emphasized efforts by the authority to cut costs. Operation and maintenance contracts were costing the authority about $12.6 million, she said.
The authority also plans to take over house-to-house garbage collection in selected communities to reduce costs and, in some instances, to reduce the number of bin sites. Four new garbage trucks are being purchased with funds already appropriated. She said the $500,000 cost of the trucks will be made up in one year of savings because the authority will no longer have to contract the collection out.
According to Cornwall, the authority is also looking at several ways to generate revenues.
The WMA is researching how to charge an advance disposal fee for tires. The fee would be paid when cars and tires are imported into the territory.
The WMA is also supporting legislation to impose impact fees on capital development projects. The impact fees, which are very popular in the mainland United States, would be placed in a capital reserve fund for the upgrade and replacement of the waste water system.
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the committee would consider the request and do what was possible.

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