For Immediate Release: May 3, 2014
Press Release by:
Councilmember Mike White, Chair
Budget and Finance Committee
Budget and Finance Committee approves $604 million fiscal year 2015 budget
WAILUKU, Hawaii – Late Saturday evening, the council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted to approve a $604 million budget for fiscal year 2015 — $18.5 million lower than the budget proposed by the mayor, announced Maui County Councilmember Mike White, who chairs the committee.
Consistent with White’s proposal, real property tax rates were reduced by 3.1 percent across the board from fiscal year 2014 rates. The move reduced the proposed property tax rates by 9 percent, saving taxpayers $23.4 million, despite a significantly lower gain in transient accommodations taxes than anticipated.
White said the proposal eliminates most expansion positions and exercises the restraint needed to “right-size” government.
“The vote reaffirms the committee’s desire to provide much-needed tax relief and leave more money in the pockets of residents and businesses,” said White. “At the same time, the budget maintains the safety net provided to the public by Maui’s nonprofit partners.”
The committee’s budget includes at least a 3-percent increase for most nonprofits.
The budget also includes initiatives for new job and business creation through a $200,000 appropriation to the Maui Economic Development Board. Other community projects funded in the revised budget include $200,000 for the popular Play and Learn Session (PALS) program, $250,000 to the Boy Scouts of America to finish renovations at Camp Maluhia and $800,000 to complete the Lanai and Molokai community health centers, to name a few.
Residents can also expect reductions in rates and fees, including a return of the 5/8-inch water meter fee to $6,030, pending further deliberations before the council’s Water Resources Committee, and 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 declined to accept the mayor’s proposed increases in tipping and refuse fees, leaving them at fiscal year 2014 levels.
With policy decisions done, White recessed the meeting to Monday at 10 a.m. to enable the committee to consider any technical corrections that may be needed.
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. Both the hearing and council meeting will be in the Council Chamber.