City budget for nearly $3 billion approved without mayor’s signature

City budget for nearly $3 billion approved without mayor’s signature
Mayor Kirk Caldwell discussed the city's upcoming budget in a news conference Thursday. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Thursday he’s allowing a nearly $3 billion city budget to go into law without his signature.

The budget includes higher taxes on hotels and investment homes to help the city fight homelessness, enforce rules on illegal vacation rentals and improve city parks.

“When I became mayor, I never thought I’d be arguing about whether there should be sand replenishment on a beach, or a playground in a park, and yet we face those challenges,” Caldwell said.

The budget also includes more funds for medical triage for the homeless, as well as the rejuvenation of Ala Moana Regional Park.

And the city construction budget includes money for affordable housing, demolition and eventual redevelopment of the Blaisdell Center and funds to improve the zoo, roads and wastewater systems.

The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends on June 30, 2020.

Highlights of the operating budget include:

  • Honolulu Police Department – $500,000 to provide medical triage services for homeless persons in the Kaka‘ako and Chinatown neighborhoods
  • Department of Planning and Permitting – $20 million to enforce existing as well as new bed and breakfast and transient vacation units
  • Department of Parks and Recreation – $10 million for sand replenishment at Ala Moana Regional Park

Highlights of the capital budget include:

  • Department of Land Management – $70 million for affordable housing land acquisition and construction
  • Department of Design and Construction/Department of Enterprise Services – $12 million toward Neal S. Blaisdell Center demolition
  • Department of Design and Construction – $7 million for Honolulu Zoo improvements toward accreditation

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