Kalihi residents may eventually get relief from huge property tax hike

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tax help is on the way.

The Kalihi families who's property taxes are quadrupling will get a break under a new city plan.

But it's not a quick fix. This affects about 250 homeowners, who are located in areas once strictly residential, but re-zoned at some point to industrial or commercial.

However, up until last year, their homes were left in the residential tax bracket and now they're faced with bills that are four times the rate of previous years.

Acting mayor Kirk Caldwell says they're hoping to give these residents a break going forward for what they've already paid for.

"We're looking at some form of tax credit, so that those who paid higher and can prove their property is solely residential, in future years when they have to pay property tax at lower rates they will get a credit," he said.

But there are skeptics of this plan, like councilman Romy Cachola.

"You give them tax credit, that will be, what, another year or two before you can give them the money," he said.

Still, homeowners like Cecilia Valencia still have to pay the higher amounts.

"I feel sad because it's hard only by myself to pay that," she said.

The council has already passed one bill addressing this issue. It allows residents to put their homes back into the residential tax bracket for five years.

It also offers a payment plan for those who can't afford the higher tax bill all at once.

Caldwell's plan still needs to go through the council and until then, residents are still stuck with paying those outrageous bills.

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