Tax bills are months late

The office of the Tax Assessor is blaming the government’s new residential property reevaluation project for failing to send out this year’s property tax bills.  Taxes usually are due August 31.  But the assessor, Roy Martin, told the St. John Source the Finance Department has not ironed out technical problems with new computer software which is part of the reassessment.  He said the bills are ready to be mailed but collections could not occur until Finance straightens things out.

Gas tops $3 a gallon

The average price of a gallon of regular full-serve gasoline on St. John is $3.05, the government reported.  The Virgin Islands Daily News said that’s a 6 percent rise in the past month, and 30 percent more than a year ago. "We’ve never had prices of $3 per gallon, ever," said Andrew Rutnik, commissioner of the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.  On St. Thomas, the average price was $2.48.

Besides the high price, there continues to be the challenge of supply.  Domino gas stations on both St. John and St. Thomas remain closed, unable to be supplied because the company’s fuel barge is out of service for inspection. Samuel Benjamin, owner of Domino Oil, declined to comment to the Daily News but said his attorney planned to release a statement.

Thinking of coming on down?

MillipedI haven’t found too many blogs in the territory.  Only two, I think. One is "Welcome to Paradox," written by an attorney on St. Croix. (I’ve forgotten the other.)

The postings to Paradox have been sparse over the past few months, perhaps because it sounds like two years on ‘The Rock" have been enough for the writer, and he’s on his way outta Dodge.  The site’s worth reading for a sense of one person’s view of what it’s been like for him to to live and work in Paradise Paradox.

Comments on Chesney

Kenny Chesney’s regret that his fans are "following me in droves" to St. John spurred chatter from readers this week. 

An unsympathetic posting sarcastically paraphrased the superstar, "Oh, boo hoo, I’m so sad that I’ve ruined a good thing."  Another pointed out that Chesney, who owns two houses on the island and is reported considering building a third,"encouraged high-profile pictures of his wedding and the locale … (and is) now lamenting his loss of privacy?" 

There were two comments in support.  One said, "People should just leave him alone.  A person needs time alone to regroup and slow down."  The other said, "Give him some peace and quiet.  Now he has to go into hiding in the place he calls ‘home’."

Gas shortage continues

It’s not so easy to gas up and go on St. John.  At least one of the three island service stations is reported out of gasoline

Domino Oil officials say the company’s fuel barge is not operating because it is waiting for a required inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.  It could be more than a week before the supply ship is back in business.

E & C Service Gas and Service Station at Pine Peace has been able to find an alternative fuel supplier, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News, and is operating.  The Domino-owned station in Coral Bay is out of gas, as are the company’s St. Thomas locations.

Andrew Rutnik, commissioner of the department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, called the situation "critical, because it is hurricane season, and people need fuel," according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  "(Having only) one station on the island (O’Connor’s in Cruz Bay) can create traffic jams."   

Petition against parking garage

A whole lot of opposition is going on when it comes to real estate development lately. 

Now, the St. John Community Foundation is circulating a petition to stop the $3.2 million vendors plaza/parking garage across from the barge dock in Cruz Bay.  While objecting to the project at that location, the petition says its supporters would endorse a similar structure "in a location where the tennis courts are presently located." 

Sen. Craig Barshinger said he is willing to take the petitions to the Governor, saying it would take at least 600 signatures to get attention, with 2,000 certain to get some action.  "Or a lesser number of signatures of people willing to chain themselves to a bulldozer," he added, according to the St. John Source.