Mayor’s FY2014 Budget Proposal Presented to Council
By Wendy Osher
In a formal budget presentation before the Maui County Council, Mayor Alan Arakawa unveiled his version of the FY2014 Budget, seeking an increase in water rates and parks funding.
Mayor Arakawa said his proposed Capital Improvement Projects are focused upon catching up with neglected infrastructure.
Key CIP projects include the following:
- $34.5 million road resurfacing, up from $30.7 million in FY13;
- $28.6 million for water supply improvements, including source development, storage, and transmission, up from $26.7 million in FY13;
- $15.5 million drainage improvements, and increase of nearly $5 million from FY13;
- $20.7 million in wastewater improvements and expansion, including sewer lines, reclamation facilities, and pump stations; and
- $5.3 million parks facility improvements; and $3 million for solid waste improvements, including investments to reduce future operating costs.
“To pay for these projects, and to help us balance the budget, we will be slightly increasing Real Property Tax revenue,” said Mayor Arakawa.
According to the mayor, estimated property values for FY14 are projected at $33.4 billion, which will generate an estimated $239 million in revenue. Revenue derived from real property tax, he said, is the “most significant source of revenue for the county.”
As part of the changes to the property tax rate, Arkawa stated that the administration would be restoring parity to classifications that historically had the same rates.
“Residential, apartment, agricultural and conservation classification are all proposed to be equal. Similarly, the commercial and industrial classifications are also proposed to be equal,” he said.
No tax rate increase is proposed for the homeowner classification, which the mayor noted, saw a significant increase last fiscal year. And he said the average homeowner’s tax bill went up 24% last year.
After real property tax, the mayor stated that the transient accommodations tax is the next largest single source of general fund revenue for the county.
“Maui County’s share of the transient accommodations tax or TAT for FY14 is $21 million, an increase of $2 million from FY13. Even though our visitor industry has rebounded, and is nearing an all-time high, the artificial cap the state placed on our TAT revenues is in effect until 2015,” he said.
Also as stated during the Mayor’s State of the County Address, the administration is proposing a rate increase of 5.2% for the water supply fund. “These funds are required to properly operate and maintain our water system infrastructure,” said Mayor Arakawa.
In addition, the mayor notes that the Department of Environmental Management proposes and increase in the solid waste tipping fee at the County Landfills from $61 per ton to $75 per ton.
“This rate increase is expected to generate $1.3 million in additional revenue, which will reduce the amount of general fund subsidies,” said Mayor Arakawa.
***Check back for updates to this story. Further details will be posted upon release.