Mayor’s budget for upcoming fiscal year includes no furloughs for city workers

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 4:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said Tuesday the city’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year includes no furloughs for city workers.

At a news conference, Blangiardi said the $2.9 billion operating budget is $73 million less than the previous fiscal year.

The budget for construction projects is $1 billion, lower than the $1.27 billion set last year.

“I’m not focused on how much less, I’m focused on what we’re going to do with it,” he said.

He also said there will be a hiring freeze on about 2,000 vacant city positions, except for first responders.

“Our operating philosophy is that we wanted to protect our employees. We wanted to make sure that all 8,600 men and women who work for the City and County of Honolulu would not be impacted by ... the recession and the pandemic,” he said.

“So there will be no furloughs, absolutely no furloughs.”

The city was able to avoid drastic cuts because real estate values continue to boom during the pandemic, which means the city’s property tax income remained strong.

That, said Blangiaridi, will also allow him to fulfill one of his campaign promises: “We’re not going to raise property taxes,” he said.

The city’s budget does not include a projected $395 million in aid from the next round of federal stimulus money.

Some of that money will likely go toward rent relief for renters and landlords and to aid for small businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

This story will be updated.

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