Big Island mayor Kenoi releases proposed budget

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island mayor Billy Kenoi released his proposed budget Tuesday for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Here are the highlights mentioned at a press conference in the mayor's office in Hilo.

  • Mayor Kenoi told reporters the County is facing its third consecutive major budget shortfall this year, but the Mayor is holding the line and is proposing NO tax increase.
  • The Mayor's budget for the coming year is $366 million, down significantly from the $403 million budget that was in effect when Mayor Kenoi took office in 2008.
  • In fact, the new budget is $37 million or 9.2% percent less than the budget in effect when the Kenoi administration took office.
  • In the coming year, the County of Hawai'i will once again collect less in property taxes than it collected when the Kenoi administration began in 2008. Tax collections in 2008-09 totaled $225.9 million, while tax collections for the new budget year are expected to be just $207.3 million.
  • Mayor Kenoi's administration had to cope with a $38.1 million budget shortfall in the 2009-2010 fiscal year; a $44.8 million shortfall in this fiscal year; and had to find a way to close a $38.8 million budget gap for next year.
  • The new budget marks the third consecutive year of Mayor Kenoi's program to reduce county spending.
  • The county has used a variety of budget-cutting strategies, including cutting the number of employees by attrition. There are now 141 fewer people working for the county than there were when Mayor Kenoi took office.
  • The Kenoi administration also cut spending on consulting contracts by 48 percent for a savings of more than $6 million in fiscal 2010.
  • The administration also reduced overtime spending by 22 percent in fiscal 2010, for an additional savings of $2.6 million.
  • Furloughs for county workers on the Big Island will end June 30 EXCEPT for Mayor Kenoi and his staff. The Mayor and his staff will continue to take furloughs to cut costs.

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