Maui News

MAUI COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY PASSES BUDGET ON FIRST READING

May 15, 2009, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated May 15, 9:43 PM
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The Maui County Council unanimously passed an amended budget on first reading this afternoon.  Council Chair Danny Mateo said that not everybody got what they wanted, but “during these tough economic times, the bottom line is to live within one’s means and take an efficient approach.”

File Photo:  Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla speaks to the public at a hearing held at the Lahaina Civic Center earlier in the budget process calling for support in maintaining the county's share of the hotel room tax or TAT.  Photo by Wendy OSHER 2009.

File Photo: Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla speaks to the public at a hearing held at the Lahaina Civic Center earlier in the budget process calling for support in maintaining the county's share of the hotel room tax or TAT. Photo by Wendy OSHER 2009.

The council reinstated $4 million in funding for road resurfacing.  Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla said the funds are available to match federal or state grants that may arise, and also to address resurfacing requirements and needs within the county.

Budget Chair Pontanilla also recommended an amendment to reduce the county’s bond debt by $7.5 million by moving projects that were considered for bond to cash.  Pontanilla said the move effectively brought down the bond debt as recommended by the County Finance Director.  In reducing bond debt, three projects that had gone from bond to cash included: the old Wailuku Post Office, a portion of the Kihei Police Station, and the South Maui Community Park.

The council also restored a half million dollars in funding to purchase a dozer for the county Department of Environmental Management, and restored funding for positions that had been noted as vacant, but actually had already been filled.

While county directors testified in support of their respective programs this morning, the council did not take action on a number of requests including the Visitors Bureau’s recommendation to reinstate funding for marketing on Maui.

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In the finance department, the council added two positions to support the real property tax division in its active pursuit to go after delinquent taxes.

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Pontanilla said, “Rather than recognizing $18 million dollars in transient accommodation taxes, the county recognized only $17 million because of the continued reduction in tourism.”

The budget passed with 9 votes in support of the amended document and resurfaces for second reading on May 28th.

(By:  Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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