HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said his $1.8 billion operating budget for fiscal 2011 holds the line on spending.
"We have been very proactive in recognizing what our budget shortfall is going to be going forward," he said.
The mayor said the shortfall is $98 million, revised down from an earlier estimate of $140 million.
Under Hannemann's money plan, real property tax rates remain the same for homeowners but non-homeowners will pay $3.72 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value. That's up 49 cents a month for an average single-family home and up a quarter for the average condo.
Hannemann called it a "modest" increase that could create millions of dollars in revenue.
"You're not going to see a situation, I believe, where they're going to pass on additional costs to now raise rental prices in a depressed market where people are really struggling," he said.
But council budget chair Nestor Garcia said the classification raises questions.
"I can't say for certain who is a non-homeowner," he said. "I think we have in mind the investor who has two or three homes."
The mayor also said the city will save by furloughing about 5,200 workers two days each month.
He said his budget will increase just 1.2 percent over the current year.
But councilman Charles Djou said by his math, Hannemann's budget goes up 12 percent when you factor in $2.1 billion in Capital Improvement projects.
"You have to look at overall city expenditures - how much money are we spending not just with taxes but also with debt. And when you combine the two this is a staggering amount in annual expenditures," he said.
But Hannemann insists you can't add the two for a true picture of where the city stands financially. By his accounting, his 2011 spending plan is solid.