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Mayor delivers $1.045 billion proposed budget to Maui council

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino delivered his proposed $1.045 billion budget to the Maui County Council on Thursday. This represents an increase of $206.1 million over FY 2022, or an increase of 23.9%.

Revenues in FY 2023 will fund a proposed operating budget of $794 million (an increase of $110.8 million or 16.2%); and a capital improvement budget of $251 million.

He said the proposed budget maintains all necessary county services.

“To assist hard-working families,” Mayor Victorino said he proposed adjustments to the owner-occupied tax rate, and adjustments in real property tax rates for other classifications.

Once again, $10 million is set aside in countywide costs, specifically for recovery and relief efforts for COVID-19 and other unforeseeable events. He also proposed an increase to the Emergency Fund, seeking an appropriation of $3.4 million to mitigate and respond to any emergency without affecting funding or other services.

Highlights include the following:

Housing:

  • $2.94 million appropriation to the Affordable Housing Fund
  • $1 million for the First Time Home Buyers Program – The program provides downpayment assistance of up to $30,000 for new homeowners.
  • $1.5 million for feasibility studies on County-owned land to identify infrastructure needs for attainable housing.
  • $1 million to begin work on Imi Kala St. extension – a vital piece in the future development of attainable housing.
  • $2 million to address culvert and drainage on Waiʻale Road to accommodate future attainable housing in Wailuku.

Culture and Arts:

  • $43 million in general obligation bonds for Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art to foster the art of hula and other cultural practices.
  • $200,000 to support Hālau Keʻalaokamaile’s capital campaign.
  • $150,000 to Kaʻahumanu Church in Wailuku to help restore the deteriorating structure.
  • $150,000 to the Bailey House Museum to help with restoration efforts.

Parks and Recreation Facilities:

  • $10 million War Memorial Gym – repairs to structure, replacement of flooring and bleachers, installation of air conditioning.
  • $7.2 million War Memorial Stadium.
  • Requested funds for assessment of the acquisition of 52 acres to create a new Pulelehua County Park.

Infrastructure:

  • $33.1 million for road improvements – including design for the reconstruction of Lower Main Street, Lahainaluna Road, South Kīhei Road and Makawao Ave.; construction of Lower Kula Road and the Pukalani Terrace subdivision; and improvements to Kamehameha and Wākea avenues.
  • $5 million for Upper Kula water transmission improvements.
  • $5 million for West Maui recycled water expansion.
  • $3.1 million for the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility R-1 process expansion.

Public Safety:

  • Enhanced training and proper equipment for firefighters, police officers, ocean safety officer, and emergency management personnel.

Climate Change, Resiliency, Sustainability:

  • $1.3 million to implement recommendations from various studies and plans on climate change, resiliency and sustainability.

The proposed operating budget calls for a total of 157 expansion positions from all sources and funds. Mayor Victorino noted, “Our departments have been doing more with less while being creative to accomplish the needs of our community.” The budget proposes 36.5 equivalent personnel to expand services at County beach parks.

Given the impacts of COVID-19, Mayor Victorino said it’s “more vital than ever” to diversity the economy. This includes a commitment to support diversified agriculture through a $1.5 million micro grants program, $450,000 for the Kula Agricultural Park, and $1 million for the Lānaʻi Agricultural Park.

Mayor Victorino noted that there’s also $1.3 million included in the budget for agricultural promotion and technology to support the Maui Farm Bureau, Farmers Union United, and the Hawaiʻi Taro Farm, LLC.

“I strongly believe with responsible planning and the right investments, together we can restore essential services today, while laying the foundation for a healthy, thriving community for generations to come,” he said in a letter to the Council.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/03/25/mayor-delivers-1-045-billion-proposed-budget-to-maui-council/

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