No property tax hike in new city budget - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

No property tax hike in new city budget

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle outlined his new spending plan on Thursday for the fiscal year that starts in July. The $1.953 billion dollar operating budget is $28 million higher than the current one.

"At a time when other cities for the first time in history are declaring bankruptcy, there are positive signs that Honolulu is moving in the right direction," said Carlisle.

There are no property tax rate increases in the plan. Carlisle said revenue generated from real property taxes is up $12 million compared to the previous year thanks to construction.

"The new inventory includes development projects and improvements to existing properties like the Aulani Resort, Ward parking structure, and Lowe's Home Improvement Center," Carlisle explained.

The budget continues across the board labor savings of 5%, but the union contracts for police and firefighters still haven't been settled. Also, the Hawaii Government Employees Association is trying to gain benefits in the United Public Workers contract under a favored nation clause.

"That leads to us having difficulty figuring out exactly what the precise picture is going to be. I would have to say unequivocally, I never have been a fan of the most favored nation clause. I think it was a mistake, and I think it's proving to be," Carlisle said.

The mayor also wants to add $20 million to the Fiscal Stability Fund, essentially a rainy day fund.

"In the long run, saving will bring stabilization and protect against economic or revenue downturns and emergency situations," Carlisle said.

The Capital Improvement Program budget would rise $30 million to $577 million. According to the city, 82% of the money would be used for wastewater systems, road rehabilitation, transportation and public safety.

The mayor is also proposing a pilot program to replace existing parking meters with advanced machines that accept credit cards.

"These meters should also generate additional revenue from existing meter spaces because the meters zero out when the parking space is vacated," Carlisle said.

The Honolulu City Council needs to approve the budget by mid-June. The plan is posted online for public review at http://can-do.honolulu.gov/

 

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