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Maui Council Overrides Mayor’s Line-Item Vetoes

Council Chair Gladys Baisa. File photo by Wendy Osher. [1]

Council Chair Gladys Baisa. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The Maui County Council on Monday unanimously voted to override Mayor Alan Arakawa’s line-item vetoes [2] for the fiscal year 2015 budget, Council Chair Gladys Baisa announced.

“It is the council’s number one responsibility to pass a budget,” said Baisa in a press release announcement, noting the extensive public testimony and deliberations that the council took into consideration while preparing the budget.

The council voted to override all eight line-item vetoes issued by the mayor including those relating to the new Kahului community center and the council’s water infrastructure improvement project.  They also rejected the mayor’s veto of stipulations that the council placed on parts of the environmental management budget.

The mayor’s line-item vetoes relating to the Kula Agricultural Park expansion, the Molokaʻi and Upcountry Maui water projects and the South Maui community park and multipurpose center were also rejected.

Councilmember Mike White, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, made a motion for override of the vetoes, saying he has full confidence in county managers to implement the budget.

“Although this veto represents democracy in action, it is important for residents to understand what is at risk,” said White who contends that the vetoes would remove “essential components of the budget specifically requested by the residents.”

In his statement, White said the vetoes would put the county at risk of losing about $5 million in state funds appropriated for the Kula Ag Park, which he said is intended to create additional farmland. He said the mayor’s veto would have also removed the $12.6 million for water infrastructure improvements placed in the budget by the council as a direct response to the community’s demand for water meters.

White’s full statement is available at the following direct LINK [3].

In passing the override, Baisa said, “I respectfully ask all to pick up our marbles and move forward to help each other.  I appreciated this process, and now we must work together to have the best possible results for the community.”

The county’s $603.6 million budget is now official and will go into effect on July 1.