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Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesFederal Stimulus Funds Flowing Into Territory, Official Says

Federal Stimulus Funds Flowing Into Territory, Official Says

While the territory has recently been able to secure more than $100 million in federal economic stimulus funds, one local official said there is still a lot more work to do in terms of making sure the money is properly tracked, managed and spent.
In February, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said he would be setting up an Office of Economic Opportunity, under the Public Finance Authority, in order to help local nonprofits, private businesses and government agencies apply for funding available through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants. The office, headed by Public Finance Director Julito Francis, is also charged with monitoring ARRA funds that have been received.
So far, the territory has applied for $375 million in competitive and formula-based grants. Of that amount, $120 million has been awarded, Francis said in a recent interview.
Of the $120 million awarded, about $47 million is ready to be accessed by government agencies, while, according to Francis, $4 million has been spent. Meanwhile, local nonprofits and private businesses also have about $4 million available for drawdown, Francis said.
The territory’s hard work has been rewarded, with Francis recently being tapped by the federal government to sit on the National Jobs Task Force, which will help develop a process for counting the number of government jobs created throughout the nation from ARRA-supported projects and programs.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only territory to sit on the task force, along with representatives from 10 different states, Francis said.
A model will be recommended by the task force to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which will, along with representatives from different federal agencies, help put together a final model.
"I feel good about this accomplishment, but it still doesn’t mean our work is over," Francis said recently. "Because of this, we have to maintain a higher level of performance and keep doing as much as we can to meet the federal requirements."

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