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sloop jones
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March 21, 2014 10:49 am  

http://stjohnsource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/03/21/waste-management-fee-schedule-generates-concerns-business-owners

Another tax coming.

Does anyone know if they will be
implementing the tax on consumers as well as businesses?

If I buy a computer online from somewhere off island and have it shipped
via USPS, will the fee be collected?

Will businesses have to pay on import and not consumers.

It is my impression it works that way now with excise tax.

I get bills from excise tax for everything I bring in as Sloop Jones or ST John Antennas.

Anything I bring in personally is not taxed.


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vicanuck
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March 21, 2014 12:03 pm  

The tax will be levied when the goods are imported.

They still really have no way of collecting on goods shipped via USPS so folks should continue to use postal as much as possible.

Of course, consumers will ultimately pay because wholesalers and retailers will pass on the increase.

Some enterprising person should start a business in Florida that re-packages and re-labels inbound purchases to avoid USVI excise taxes.

Could be a good living made there.


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Alana33
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March 21, 2014 1:02 pm  

Waste Mismanagement Authority has been trying for YEARS to figure out how to tax us all into oblivion.
Their last salvo, a few years back, was to tax everything coming into the VI, at full weight ( instead of empty weight which is what they'd be disposing) and would have created a huge customs nightmare as testified to. They wasted our tax dollars by paying $1M to a consulting service to create this plan for them only to have such a huge public outraged, outcry that PSC denied them.

They have had years to implement recycling and have had offers of "free help" to do so and you see what we get!
Nothing but more innovative ways to make us pay thru the nose for their ineptitude, inefficiency and lack of ability.

How about a real waste management plan before even discussing fees?
By assessing fees to a public that largely can't afford any higher costs of living, she is assuring one of 2 outcomes: illegal dumping and more environmental pollution; or continued exodus from the territory by residents.

WMA needs to be disbanded and put back under Public Works.
Our islands were much cleaner before this quasi government entity was created and they need to be recycled into the closest dumpster.


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sloop jones
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March 21, 2014 1:17 pm  

vicanuck [ PM ]
Re: waste management fees new
March 21, 2014 08:03AM Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 660
The tax will be levied when the goods are imported.

They still really have no way of collecting on goods shipped via USPS so folks should continue to use postal as much as possible.

Excise is levied on businesses importing thru USPS.
As far as I an tell
excise is not levied on individuals importing via USPS.


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rmb2830
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March 21, 2014 2:02 pm  

We are very frugal when it comes to our vehicles. Yes we have more than we 'need', but we basically keep them forever. I don't see why someone who keeps a car or truck for 10 or 15 or more years..(And yes, we have a 1990, and a few more, with our 'new one' being a 2002) should have to bear much more of the burden than someone who gets a car and wrecks it in a year or two.


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vicanuck
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March 22, 2014 11:30 am  

Sorry Sloop...although the government has "attempted" to levy excise taxes on businesses who bring in products through the USPS, the exercise was a complete failure and has since been abandoned. I believe the practice was deemed to be illegal but I'm not certain of the actual reason. My business used to receive these notices but we just ignored them. I haven't seen one for months.


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Alana33
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March 22, 2014 12:17 pm  

Proposed waste fees draw ire from St. Thomas business owners

By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 21, 2014

ST. THOMAS - Local business owners are outraged by the details of how the V.I. Waste Management Authority intends to begin paying off its incurred and increasing cost of disposing of illegally dumped waste.

"You're going to tax us out of business," said Tom Brunt, CEO of MSI Building Supplies and a representative for the local Chamber of Commerce during a public hearing Thursday.

The public hearing at the Windward Passage Hotel on St. Thomas was the second of three public hearings regarding the imposition of a "special waste fee," as Waste Management officials are calling it.

The fee would not necessarily cover the cost of disposing of special waste products, but instead would cover the cost of educating the community about illegal dumping and the enforcement needed to prevent it, according to Waste Management Executive Director May Adams Cornwall.

In turn, the Waste Management Authority hopes to curb some of the costs that it has incurred in taking care of "millions and millions" of dollars worth of illegally disposed waste, whether it was left at dump sites or at places that are not at all associated with waste. The waste - which could include auto parts, computer parts, light bulbs, and many other components that could be toxic to the environment if unregulated and put into a regular waste site - must be shipped off-island, Cornwall said.

"They cannot be disposed of in the territory, at all. They must go," she said.

Still, the collected fees will not go towards disposal costs, Cornwall said.

Instead, the collected fees will go towards sending Waste Management employees to schools, businesses and community events to educate people about the need to dispose of special waste appropriately, Waste Management spokeswoman Stella Saunders said. The fees also will go toward enforcement, such as having more monitors at dump sites on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, according to Saunders.

The fees, which are expected to total about $1.2 million annually for the Waste Management Authority, will be collected when products are imported, which business owners said is going to be detrimental to their success, as it will force them to hike their prices higher than their competitors, especially those online.

Business owners - who sell everything from auto parts, building supplies and home appliances - will be taking on an unfair burden, as will their customers, they said.

"Every time that there is something to be done, you turn to the businesses," said Julian Industrious, owner of Industrious Auto Parts. He said he has taken it upon himself for years to have his customers' auto parts shipped back to the states to the manufacturers in order to avoid throwing them away on-island.

Many of the dozen or so business owners who attended the public hearing said they had special contracts or partnerships to ensure that their products also are appropriately disposed of. Many felt that they are paying for the bad deeds of others, though they are the ones who are in compliance.

Enrique Rodriguez, owner of Rodriguez Auto Parts, said his was the first business and the first non-government site certified by the federal government to dispose of tires.

Rodriguez said he is concerned about charging his customers a "special waste fee" on top of a disposal fee - which he uses to organize the disposal of his customers' auto parts. The new policy could even encourage further illegal dumping, he said.

Already, 20 percent of Rodriguez's customers choose not to pay the $6 disposal fee that he charges per tire and instead likely dispose of it elsewhere, illegally, he said.

Under the new special waste fee, Rodriguez said he will have to charge another $6 per tire, because he still will have to dispose of the tire, even after paying the "import tax" - as the business owners called the special waste fee.

"It doesn't make any sense," he said, noting that it would be easier to attach the fee to other fees incurred at the V.I. Motor Vehicles Department.

Additionally, the audience questioned the Waste Management Authority officials about whether the government would pay the same fees, as well as those who shipped products in trying to avoid the fees that they might take on if purchasing from local businesses.

Theoretically, government entities will pay, Cornwall said, noting that the local government is not always known for paying its dues in a timely manner.

Cornwall took in all of the suggestions from the business owners, as well as the dozen or so other attendees, some of whom were there to learn about how the fees would affect consumers. Others were there as Waste Management employees, and others as environmental activists.

The environmental effects of the "special waste" accumulating within the territory eventually could be detrimental, according to Cornwall. Many of the products that they are concerned about contain metals and chemicals that could harm human, as well as local animals, including those in the ocean, she said.

"Both of our landfills are right at the ocean," Cornwall said, explaining that neither landfill had been properly built and did not include a lining that normally would protect the soil and water from toxins that seep into the surroundings if left exposed long enough.

"It is just a cost that all of us will have to bear," Cornwall said.

So here, again, we are being charged with absolutely no plan of action on reducing waste, dealing with it or recycling from this inept entity!
Give us a break and disband it!


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sunshinefun
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March 22, 2014 1:59 pm  

Its just another money grab by a bankrupt government desperately trying to avoid the inevitable.


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OldTart
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March 22, 2014 3:13 pm  

Did anyone who posts here go to any of the public hearings?


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Alana33
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March 22, 2014 3:48 pm  

Maybe instead of looking for ways to tax us to death without solving any of our solid waste disposal issues they should look into recycling tires to fix our seemingly never-ending pothole problems and our roadways.

Recycled car tyres could soon be used to surface roads across the country
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2320023/Recycled-rubber-soon-used-resurface-nations-busiest-roads.html#ixzz2whkM90pv

There are so many uses for tires and other materials that Waste Mismanagement Authority is clueless about while there are an over-abundance of links on the internet for them to explore in order to solve our problems without spending 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS for "sending Waste Management employees to schools, businesses and community events to educate people about the need to dispose of special waste appropriately and having more monitors at dump sites on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John."

Unfortunately, they have neither the desire nor the aptitude to glean information for themselves to begin recycling programs and properly institute them. Cornwall needs to be replaced or WMA disbanded. They have no idea what they are doing.

Last time I was at the STT dump, there was a huge conveyor belt sitting there rusting away. I asked what it was and was told that some person in charge had arranged its purchase but they bought the wrong thing so $75,000 worth of machinery was left rusting at the dump in plain view. Our tax dollars at work.


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Alana33
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March 24, 2014 10:52 pm  

Waste Management spent $17,053.66 on 3-day retreat

ST. CROIX - A three-day retreat that the V.I. Waste Management Authority board and senior managers took on St. Croix in January cost taxpayers more than $17,000.

That figure includes round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for those who traveled from St. Thomas; catering for lunch, dinner and refreshments; the cost of the meeting room and certain business services; facilitator fees; materials and prizes for a team-building activity; and stenographer services for the board's annual meeting.

It also includes presents commemorating the Waste Management Authority's 10th anniversary that the board and agency managers gifted themselves.

The expenses for the retreat at the Arawak Bay Inn at Salt River from Jan. 22 to 24 totaled $17,053.66, according to figures provided by the V.I. Waste Management Authority in response to a Daily News public records request.

$2,200 in gifts

According to the information Waste Management provided, the breakdown for expenses was:

- Round-trip airfare from St. Thomas to St. Croix for 12 people, including three board members, an assistant, seven managers and the facilitator for the retreat was $1,975.

- Hotel accommodations for 10 people for three days and two people for two days at a "local" rate was $5,622.75. Breakfast was included.

- Catering services for three days for all participants, which includes the St. Thomas and the St. Croix board members and management teams, as well as the facilitator, was $2,950.

- The meeting room and services with audio-visual materials, such as projectors, flip charts, markers, the printing of documents, wireless internet and phone calls were included.

- The facilitator fee, at $1,250 per day for two days, was $2,500.

- The commemorative gifts were $2,206.47.

- Materials and prizes for a team-building activity were $426.94

- Per diem payments for the board were $375.

- Stenographer services for the board annual meeting, which occurred at the end of the retreat, were $897.50

- Audio equipment setup was $100.

An exercise in engaging

Waste Management Authority Executive Director May Adams-Cornwall said she thinks the retreat was important for building capacity and training and having managers and the board interact and talk about how they want to see the agency move forward.

"This one was particularly important for us, because we realize with the situation with finances and resources that our priority goals must match up with the strategic direction of the authority," she said. "We felt like we needed the board to engage with us about what the strategic direction should be."

According to information Waste Management provided, all five board members - board chairman and Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, Dodson James, LaVerne Ragster, Valdamier Collens and Norberto Rosado - attended the retreat, along with a Waste Management employee who is assigned to the board. Fourteen Waste Management staff members, comprising executive and senior management, also attended, along with the facilitator.

Adams-Cornwall said that board members and staff who live on St. Croix spent the nights at home, rather than at the Arawak.

"We just came in every morning," she said, noting that she she did not think that it was necessary for everyone to stay at the inn. "I don't think it makes sense to do that, unless it's some far, far place. This was accessible."

Gifts and prizes

The Waste Management Authority 10th anniversary commemorative gifts that all participants received included embossed portfolios and portable speaker devices with USB ports, Adams-Cornwall said.

The prizes and materials for team-building exercises included prizes and materials for a team scavenger hunt and for charades, Adams-Cornwall said.

The facilitator for the retreat was Haldane Davies from the University of the Virgin Islands, she said.

The per diem amount of $75 per day was paid to the two non-governmental board members, Ragster and Rosado, Adams-Cornwall said. The three others, government employees, are not eligible for the per diem, according to V.I. Code, and are paid their regular salary when they are on board business.

Staying focused

Adams-Cornwall said that because cell phone service was spotty at the retreat, those attending had to focus on the business at hand.

"It kept everyone focused. No one got any calls during that meeting. I think that was important," she said.

The topics discussed during the retreat centered on planning and how participants envision the agency in 10 years, according to the agenda. There was also a session on board committee structure.

Cornwall said they also discussed priority goals and objectives for the upcoming fiscal year and building the agency's business strategy.

"We need to know which goals and objectives are rising to the top, because the money is limited," she said.

One of the priorities is putting a strategic plan together, Cornwall said, adding that she is in the process of getting proposals for that.

Additionally, the retreat also involved some training with the board, according to Cornwall.

'Money well-spent'

Cornwall said she thinks the $17,000 was money well-spent and said that the retreat was less expensive than it would be to send people out of the territory for training and capacity-building.

"For the small amount that that represents of a total budget of an organization our size, if you were to take that same money and try to send the same amount of people out to be trained the same amount, you'd spend four or five times the amount of money," she said.

Yet they have absolutely NO plans for dealing with our waste stream!
You tax dollars at work!


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OldTart
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March 25, 2014 11:24 am  

"Adams-Cornwall said that because cell phone service was spotty at the retreat, those attending had to focus on the business at hand."

Ergo, had the cell phone reception been stellar, the participants would be too distracted to work - the attention span of 2 year olds?

The retreat could have been conducted just as effectively and far less expensively via teleconferencing with the participants sitting in their respective island conference rooms but that would entail employing common sense and fiscal responsibility. What a silly thought! I have to continually remind myself that applying logic in understanding government waste is an exercise in total futility.


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Alana33
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March 25, 2014 12:00 pm  

Here's a letter I wrote the Daily News last year/2013:

I read with interest the article regarding the transfer of money between different VI Government funds for variety of budget-related bills for Fiscal Year 2014 by our Legislature.

One thing that really jumped out at me is the vast sum of money, appropriated (taken from Peter to pay Paul) for the use of VI Waste Management Authority. The total sum appropriated from various funds to go to VIWMA is a whopping $29,483,688.00. Yes, that's right! Almost $30 Million Dollars!

Personally, I'd like to know why WMA requires this vast amount and exactly what their budget is, how this money is to be spent and what led these senators "appropriate" this huge amount of funding. I'd also like to know when the last audit by the Inspector General was done on WMA and what the findings were considering the pathetic past and continued lack of performance on this entities part from its creation by Gov. DeJongh to this day.

As a friend said, "The truly sad thing about that is that Waste Management Authority is a misnomer. They don't "manage" wastes. They process contracts, with all kinds of non transparent things going on.They are basically just a rogue entity with a license to steal. That is all."

I happen to agree.


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OldTart
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March 25, 2014 12:33 pm  

I do wish you'd attended the recent meeting on St Thomas and followed up ...


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Alana33
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March 25, 2014 12:35 pm  

I normally do attend and follow up behind the scenes with the help and efforts of others.


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