For Immediate Release: May 5, 2014
Press Release by:Councilmember Mike White Budget and Finance Committee (www.mauicounty.gov/committees/BF)Maui County Council
Budget and Finance Committee completes review of fiscal year 2015 budget
WAILUKU, Hawaii –The Budget and Finance Committee this morning completed its review and recommended passage of the $604 million budget for fiscal year 2015, Committee Chair Mike White announced today.
The $18.5 million decrease in spending from the mayor’s proposed budget allowed the committee to reduce real property tax rates by 3.1 percent from fiscal year 2014 rates for all categories.
“The tax relief for our county’s residents and businesses was a foremost consideration,” White said. “My biggest concern was in giving something back to the public despite significant increases in expenses that we need to cover,” while “giving enough to the nonprofits that we depend on to keep Maui a very welcoming and wonderful place.”
Committee members noted the savings could only be achieved with sacrifices from all departments. “The word compromise is the only word that can make it work,” said Councilmember Michael P. Victorino, adding that “fiscal prudence” was required to get things done.
Councilmember G. Riki Hokama, who serves as vice-chair of the committee, reminded county officials and the public that funding was not taken away from any department, with the budget increasing 8 percent from fiscal year 2014.
Making a first-time appearance in the budget is a $10 million appropriation for countywide mainline and water infrastructure improvements. Council Chair Gladys C. Baisa called the move historic and applauded the committee for making progress on the Upcountry water meter problem.
White emphasized budget initiatives to boost economic development, including $16.6 million in funding for the proposed gymnasium at South Maui Community Park to have the structure developed as a multipurpose center. The center would attract larger sporting events and conferences to draw athletic and business activities to the island.
Maui Economic Development Board received $200,000 for new business development and job creation. In support of local agriculture, the committee recommended a 20-cent per 1,000-gallon decrease in agricultural water rates for usage above 15,000 gallons and for non potable water rates.
The committee also recommended $4.5 million for the Molokai baseyard, $1 million for the Kaunakakai police station, $500,000 for the Lanai Community Health Center facility, $250,000 for planning and design for a new Lanai youth center facility, $21 million for countywide water supply upgrades, $5 million for road resurfacing and pavement restoration and $7.4 million for parks capital improvement projects.
The Ocean Safety Division remains under the Department of Parks and Recreation while additional measures are taken to prepare the Department of Fire and Public Safety for the Charter-mandated transition of the division to the department.
With increases for most nonprofits and significant economic development initiatives included, Baisa described the budget as fair, noting that it meets the needs of Maui County but does not overtax the community. “We heard it from the taxpayers loud and clear – don’t raise taxes,” Baisa said.
A reconvened public hearing on the real property tax rates is set for May 16, with the budget anticipated to be scheduled for first reading before the council on May 27. The Council must pass the budget by June 10. It will go into effect July 1.
For more information, call Executive Assistant Troy Hashimoto at (808) 270-5507.