Mayor Bissen presents $1.697B proposed FY 2025 budget to the Council

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  • Maui Mayor Richard Bissen presents his FY 2025 budget to the Maui Council. He is pictured here with Council Chair Alice Lee. (3.25.24) PC: County of Maui
  • Mayor Richard Bissen presents his FY 2025 budget to the Maui County Council (3.25.24) PC: County of Maui
  • Mayor Richard Bissen presents his FY 2025 budget to the Maui County Council (3.25.24) PC: County of Maui
  • Mayor Richard Bissen presents his FY 2025 budget to the Maui County Council (3.25.24) PC: County of Maui
  • Mayor Richard Bissen presents his FY 2025 budget to the Maui County Council (3.25.24) PC: County of Maui

Mayor Richard T. Bissen, Jr. presented his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY2025) to members of the Maui County Council on Monday. The FY 2025 budget proposal addresses funding needed for housing, water, infrastructure, economic resiliency and diversity, as well as protection of the environment.

The proposed budget of $1.697 billion includes $1.075 billion in operating expenses, $180.2 million in capital improvements, $379.4 million in grant revenue and $75.0 million in revolving funds.

“Collectively we have begun the very daunting journey, navigating through very challenging times for all of us. We continue to work together to address the most complex natural disaster in Hawaiʻi’s history as we know,” said Mayor Bissen during an address from the ninth floor of the Kalana O Maui county building. “Also the worst wildfire disaster in the United States over the last 100 years.”

“The impact of the Maui wildfires has placed an inordinate amount of demand on the county for both human and financial resources, including: rescue operations, recovery, housing, provisioning, debris removal and infrastructure replacement and repair,” said Mayor Bissen.

He said these efforts continue through FY 2025. The mayor’s budget proposal represents a nearly flat budget for departments carrying out normal county operations, excluding any wildfire expenses. According to the mayor, there’s only a 1.2% increase in the county’s operating budget.


“This year in response to recovery efforts, and the creation of three new departments and one new division, we’re facing a $429.2 million increase to the FY 2025 budget,” said Mayor Bissen. “This is 33.9% increase from last year’s council approved budget of $1.268 billion. This is due in large part to the new revenue streams addressing our emergency recovery needs.”

The budget calls for:

  • The establishment of the Department of ʻŌiwi Resources, which commits the county to being mindful of its Hawaiian history, heritage and culture. It also is designed to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawaiʻi state motto: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono,” — The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
  • The establishment of the East Maui Water Authority will oversee the Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Honomanū and Huelo license areas, and is responsible for investigating, acquiring, managing and controlling water collection and delivery systems.
  • The bifurcation of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns was adopted by the council, and voted into approval by residents in 2022.

Mayor Bissen said the creation of the Office of Recovery provides staffing and framework to lead the implementation of best practices for recovery efforts in six focus areas: (1) community planning, (2) housing, (3) infrastructure, (4) natural, historical and cultural resources, (5) economic resiliency, and (6) health and social service systems.

The Mayor’s budget proposal for FY 2025 totals $1.697 billion.

He said while the increase is “indeed significant,” he said it is “primarily based on an increase due to wildfire related revenue and expenses within our existing departments that we are required to balance within the budget.”


“My budget also reflects a $153 million increase in FY 2025 operating funds and just over $146 million or 95.3% of that increase is attributable to wildfire related departmental expenses,” said Mayor Bissen.

Other Maui wildfire departmental expenses include: implementing an updated communications system for the Maui Police Department; increasing 29 frontline firefighter positions in the Maui Fire and Public Safety Department; planning, designing and constructing the new Haʻikū Fire Staton, including a new pumper truck; and adding a dedicated water tanker for Nāpili and new off-road mini pumpers assigned to Kīhei, Makawao and Wailea.

For the Maui Emergency Management Agency, the budget calls for personnel staffing on Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Hāna for enhanced response to those areas. The budget also includes the addition of positions to the Department of the Corporation Council for wildfire related information requests and increased legal matters.

“We recognize and embrace the cumbersome fiduciary responsibility we have to our residents and to our state, federal and private partners,” said Mayor Bissen. “As such, I have asked all the departments to maintain level budgets to the prior fiscal year where that is possible.”

“I realize that the impact that the financial implications of the Lahaina wildfires are being felt statewide. However, none have felt it more than our 12,000 survivors who have lost everything,” said Mayor Bisssen. “Never has Maui County been presented with a more critical and justified need.”


While the county and state are faced with many priorities, Mayor Bissen said, “none are of a higher priority than the needs of the people of the town of Lahaina.”

The total estimated revenue from all sources of funds for FY 2025 is $1.624 billion, representing an increase of $442.6 million or 37.2%. This is compared to the 2024 total revenues of $1.191 billion.

Mayor Bissen said he has requested approximately $150 million from the state in a bridge loan from the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation for $54.5 million to directly support recovery efforts. These funds would support housing and infrastructure, according to the mayor, calling new revenue sources “absolutely critical” to ensure anticipated revenue streams can continue to serve ongoing operations for all of Maui County.

Specifically, the mayor said $45 million in projected revenue from the General Exercise Tax is anticipated to support multiple infrastructure projects across the county including: the Molokaʻi Reliable Capacity Water Project, Lānaʻi’s Wastewater Reclamation Facility plan, and Kamole Water Treatment Plant filter upgrades and North Kīhei mauka transmission system. Also, as directed by the Council, 20% of these funds will be directed to the Department of Hawaiian Home Land infrastructure projects, the mayor said.

“The wildfire disaster has presented most departments with increased needs.  Consequently, Maui’s Transient Accommodations Tax’s share of $60 million will be critical in supporting growing community needs through our General Fund,” said Mayor Bissen.

“This budget was constructed to address Maui County’s recovery efforts critical housing and infrastructure challenges.  It also ensures that ongoing projects and current services continue to be provided, and addresses preparedness and mitigation efforts for future disasters,” said Mayor Bissen.  “Above all, I believe it is always our kuleana (responsibility) to keep the people of Maui nō ka ʻoi safe.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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