- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has presented a revised operating budget for fiscal year 2015 that takes advantage of additional revenues and is nearly 6 percent higher than last year.

Kenoi sent the budget Monday to the Hawaii County Council, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://is.gd/40LLIE) reported.

Additional revenue is coming from an extra $1.7 million in property taxes after property values rose. There is also an extra $1.86 million in the county’s share of the state transient-accommodations tax. Another $770,000 is being carried over from the previous year and from other sources.

The first reading of the budget is set for May 14. After the budget is approved by the council, it goes back to Kenoi for his signature or veto.

Kenoi’s spending plan totals $416.9 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. There are no increases in property taxes or fees in the proposal, which is 5.7 percent higher than the previous budget.

More than $20 million of the $22.6 million increase is targeted for benefits hikes and employee raises.

There were many more requests from administrative departments for use of the additional money than there was money itself, Kenoi said.

“We tried to address priority concerns,” he said. “We couldn’t get everything.”

Kenoi wants to see the entire amount of the extra transient accommodations tax supplement a county account for future health benefits for retirees.

Council Chairman J Yoshimoto said that move is a good decision.

“We need to make sure we have enough money to pay for that obligation,” Yoshimoto said. “We haven’t been putting as much as we should have, and this helps make up for that.”

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/


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