Funding Source for Finance Authority Disappears While Office of Disaster Recovery Figures Differ From Government House

Adrienne Williams-Octalien, executive director of Disaster Recovery, presented figures that would help the territory’s budget. (Screenshot from official livestream of Friday’s hearing)

When the plan was made to save the Government Employee’s Retirement System from bankruptcy by using funds from the federal alcohol excise taxes returned to the territory from the mainland, the question arose, “Hasn’t that money already been committed somewhere.”

On Friday, the V.I. Legislature’s Committee on Finance heard from one agency where that money used to go – the Public Finance Authority.

Nathan Simmonds presented the Authority’s 2023 budget of $14.1 million, a 7.5 percent or $989,800 increase from Fiscal Year 2022.

The Authority’s budget is also used to fund the business operations of the Office of Disaster Recovery, such as office expenses, payroll, and administrative expenses.

Simmonds, director of finance and administration of the Authority, told the Finance Committee that the Authority’s annual budget of $10 million is normally funded with $5 million from gross receipts taxes and $5 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund, which is federal funding based on local rum production. However, because of the refunding of the PFAs Matching Fund Bonds, which are financed by the federal excise tax funds, and the issuance of the GERS Funding Note, a bond secured by those same funds, there is no excess Matching Fund Receipts to go to the General Fund or to…

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