Maui Finance Committee Agrees to $604 Million BudgetMay 4, 2014, 8:55 PM HST · Updated May 5, 5:30 AM 0 Comments
By Maui Now Staff
The Council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted to approve a $604 million budget for fiscal year 2015 over the weekend.
The budget is $18.5 million less than the $623 million budget proposed by the mayor, and $10 million more than the $594 million budget proposed by the Committee Chair Mike White.
Real Property Tax Rates Reduced:
“Consistent with White’s proposal, real property tax rates were reduced by 3.1% across the board from fiscal year 2014 rates. The move reduced the proposed property tax rates by 9%, saving taxpayers $23.4 million, despite a significantly lower gain in transient accommodations taxes than anticipated,” according to a press release announcement issued by White.
Expansion Positions Eliminated:
The committee’s version of the budget also eliminates most expansion positions. In an earlier statement, White said new collective bargaining agreements will require an estimated $100 million in additional payments from FY 2014 to FY 2017. He said increasing the employment base would have a multiplier effect on that obligation, and advised against expansion saying restraint was 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 following the committee vote. “At the same time, the budget maintains the safety net provided to the public by Maui’s nonprofit partners.”
Increased Funding for Non-Profits:
The committee’s budget includes at least a 3% increase for most nonprofits, according to White’s announcement.
The following are among a list of appropriations included for community groups and programs:
- $200,000 for Maui Economic Development Board to support new job and business creation;
- $200,000 for the PALS program Play and Learn Sessions;
- $250,000 to the Boy Scouts of America to finish renovations at Camp Maluhia; and
- $800,000 to complete the Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi community health centers.
Water Rate Reduced; Refuse Fees Unchanged:
According to White’s announcement, the committee also agreed to a reduction in water rates and fees including the following:
- A return of the 5/8-inch water meter fee to $6,030, pending further deliberations before the council’s Water Resources Committee;
- A 20-cent per 1,000-gallon decrease in agricultural water rates for usage above 15,000 gallons and for non-potable water rates;
- Declined to accept the mayor’s proposed increases in tipping and refuse fees, leaving them at fiscal year 2014 levels.
The meeting was recessed until 10 a.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014, to enable the committee time to consider technical corrections, said White.
According to White, a public hearing on real property tax rates will reconvene on May 16, with the budget expected to go before the council for first reading on May 27.