V.I. Waste Management Needs $20 Million More for 2014

In addition to its $32 million operating budget, the V.I. Waste Management Authority needs another $20 million for landfill closure work and other projects, VIWMA Executive Director May Adams Cornwall said in budget hearings Wednesday.

VIWMA has to close both the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills by 2020 to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice mandates, Cornwall said. The projected total cost to close both landfills is about $72.2 million, of which VIWMA needs $18 million for Fiscal Year 2014, she said, asking the Legislature appropriate that sum "as a matter of public exigency."

The Bovoni landfill is essentially full now, with "two or three months" of space left, said Mike Monteleone of Oasis Consulting, a firm that contracts with VIWMA. Anguilla landfill is also nearly full and work needs to be done to expand the available space, to meet EPA and DOJ consent decree terms, he said.

"Without the funding requested, these items cannot be met and the consent decree milestones will not be met," Monteleone said.

The VIWMA is also asking for an additional appropriation of $2 million for emergency sewer repairs, on top of its regular budget, and for $44,000 to help fund a program to help subsidize wastewater user fees for the needy.

Meanwhile wastewater user fees will be going up next year to help meet the cost of operating the wastewater system and VIWMA will be holding public hearings in September and October on proposed new advance disposal fees to pay for solid waste disposal, Cornwall said, adding that VIWMA plans to submit its final fee application to the Public Services Commission at the end of October.

The authority’s FY14 General Fund budget is $22.6 million. This is a $1.2 million reduction from the FY13 General Fund appropriation of $23.8 million – and $4.8 million below the 2012 appropriation of $27.2 million.

The 2014 General Fund budget includes $4.9 million for wages and salaries, $2.1 million for associated employee benefits, $582,000 in supplies, $142million in "Other Services and Charges," and $3.1 million for utilities.

The Anti-Litter and Beautification Fund is expected to contribute another $3.5 million, of which $1.2 million is for wages and salaries; $551,000 for associated benefits; $179,000 for supplies; $1.6 million for "other services and charges."

The Sewer Waste Water Fund is projected to contribute $3 million for supplies and other sewer costs.

Another $1.3 million will come from the St. John Capital Improvement Fund and $300,000 from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund, for a grand total appropriation of $31.2 million.

No votes were taken at the information gathering hearing.

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