Oct. 6, 2005 Senators stayed within a $60 million limit when appropriating money in the Omnibus Act of 2005 on Wednesday because they were unsure of exactly how much the government had recently discovered in unanticipated revenues.
While this did mean senators had to forfeit many of their own personal appropriation requests, many in the majority agreed the distribution of money in the bill was "balanced" and provided money to improve the quality of life for Virgin Islanders. They also said the bill addressed critical needs in the community (see "Omnibus Bill Passes Almost Unanimously Despite Minority Grumblings").
Along with the appropriations, the bill also included provisions dealing with everything from diverse departmental issues to amending provisions in the Economic Development law.
— Change the name of the Cramers Park Authority to the "St. Croix Park Authority."
— Allow corrections officers in the Department of Human Services and Port Authority police officers, firefighters and crew chiefs to participate in the Career Incentive Program.
— Amend the tint law to prohibit the use of mirrored tint.
— Change the 12-month redemption period for property sold by the government in a foreclosure sale to a six-month redemption period.
— Amend the Economic Development Commission code to provide that any new shareholder, partner, owner or beneficiary added to an entity that receives EDC benefits after an application for benefits has been filed, may not claim benefits without written approval from the commission.
— Repeal the Economic Development Fund to provide not more than $10,000 to establish an airline hub on St. Croix.
— Define an "educational small power production facility" in the V.I. Code as one that produces energy and is constructed and operated by the University of the Virgin Islands solely for the university's use.
— Reduce the fuel tax from 14 cents to seven cents.
— Reduce the amount of money the Commissioner of Finance can collect on late property tax and sewer fees to 1 percent.
— Allow the Union Arbitration and Government Employees Increment Fund provisions to be used for satisfying court orders and retroactive wages for government employees.
— Allow the Department of Finance to determine when money can be deposited into school imprest funds. The Office of Management and Budget also must allocate all money due to schools within 15 days after the beginning of each fiscal year.
— Eliminate the Frederiksted Health Center and Queen Cross Street from the list of properties the governor is authorized to lease to Frederiksted Health Care Inc.
–Transfer the litter enforcement officers of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, as well as the Equipment Maintenance Division, to the Department of Public Works.
— Change appropriations in the collective bargaining agreement and budget for the Education Department.
— Mandate that the interest on bond proceeds to be deposited into the Incubator Fund remain available until expended.
— Correct the amount of money owed by the V.I. Government to the Anne Carlsen Center for Children.
— Allow money set aside for the Financial Management System to be available until expended.
— Approve the reprogramming of $192,049 from the 1985 Community Block Grants.
— Approve the sites added to the V.I. Registry of Historic Buildings. This section also authorizes the Historic Preservation Commission to prepare an inventory of all buildings, sites, features, landmarks, areas and districts for submission to the Legislature and governor for approval.
— Change the name of the St. Croix Vocational School to "The St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center."
The bill was approved by all senators Wednesday except for Sen. Craig W. Barshinger. Sen. Louis P. Hill was absent.
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