Mayor Billy Kenoi delivered Friday his proposed fiscal year 2014-15 County of Hawaii Operating Budget to the County Council.
The 2014-15 budget is $9.4 million, or 2.3 percent, more than the budget in effect when Kenoi took office in 2008. The balanced budget includes estimated revenues and appropriations of $412,608,475, and includes the operations of eleven of the county’s special funds as well as the general fund.
“During the past five years of budget challenges caused by the national and international recession, we have continued to invest in county infrastructure while restricting spending and coping with increased health care and other costs. This budget reflects those efforts to control the cost of government while always maintaining essential police, fire and other core county government services,” Kenoi told the council in transmitting his proposed budget. “After five years of declining revenues, we are finally witnessing a modest, measured recovery in property values.”
However, the county faces $18.4 million in additional employee expenses in the year ahead. Most of the costs were the result of public worker arbitration decisions and negotiated agreements that significantly increase salaries, wages, social security contributions and retirement obligations. The new employee and retiree costs reflect the difference between last year’s budget and this year’s budget.
Despite the additional costs, the proposed balanced budget does not require an increase in property taxes. Tax collections in the year ahead will be $6.5 million or 2.9 percent more than the amount of property taxes collected when Kenoi took office in 2008.
Check out the Saturday, March 1, edition of West Hawaii Today or visit westhawaiitoday.com for full coverage on Kenoi’s proposed operating budget.