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County Fiscal Year 2017 Budget delivered; council review begins

By Staff | Mar 31, 2016

Maui County Councilman Mike White (right) receives the County Fiscal Year 2017 Budget from Mayor Alan Arakawa.

WAILUKU – The County Council’s Budget and Finance Committee received the mayor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget last week and will hold evening meetings throughout Maui County in April to receive community input, Committee Chair Riki Hokama announced.

The proposed budget is just short of $711.5 million. Hokama said the mayor assumes increased revenues as a result of higher real property valuations, increased rates for various county services, fuel tax increases and transient accommodations tax revenues of $36.9 million. The TAT is a tax collected when a guest stays in a hotel or other accommodation for less than 180 days.

“I can appreciate the mayor’s optimism that counties will get a greater share of the TAT this year,” Hokama said. “However, state legislators are proposing to cap our share at $23 million. If the counties don’t get a greater share, the burden of looking for other revenue sources or cutting programs to balance the budget will fall on the council.”

Other highlights from the proposal include: 45.8 expansion positions for various departments; moving the county’s Ocean Safety Division from the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Fire and Public Safety; $29.6 million in grant subsidies, a 12.6 percent increase, for nonprofit agencies; $147.9 million in capital improvement projects, which include road repairs and improvements, water supply and wastewater infrastructure improvements, new parks facilities, equipment purchases and facility maintenance; increases in water and wastewater rates, solid waste tipping fees, residential trash collection fees and the fuel tax.

“The mayor noted the county’s rebound from the recession and increased property valuations, visitor arrivals and hotel revenues in formulating his proposed budget,” Hokama said. “As we get into the details of the 900-page proposal, we will look closely at the county’s core requirements and the community’s ability to pay.

“Over the last few years, the mayor has left the task of reining in the county’s spending to the council, and the council has responded by reducing proposed double-digit increases to a more sustainable level. Once we review the proposal and hear from the departments, the council will be in a better position to know whether that trend will continue.

“I invite all to come to our meetings in the various districts and in the Council Chamber throughout the month of April.”

The public is invited to testify at the district meetings. The schedule is: Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at Kihei Community Center; Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center; Friday, April 8, at 6 p.m. at Lanai Senior Center; Monday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Pauole Center on Molokai; Wednesday, April 13, at 6 p.m. at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani; Thursday, April 14, at 6 p.m. at Haiku Community Center; Monday, April 18, at 6 p.m. at Helene Hall in Hana; and Tuesday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Lihikai Elementary School in Kahului.

Written testimony may be e-mailed to bf.committee@mauicounty.us, referencing BF-1.

Visit MauiCounty.us/2017budget for documents, agendas and announcements relating to the budget session. For special accommodations during any of the meetings, call 270-7838 at least three days in advance. For the latest news, follow @mauicounty on Twitter.