City unveils $3.4B budget that includes property tax relief plan

Property tax relief for homeowners, more affordable housing and a spending increase for public safety.
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 3:27 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 4:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Property tax relief for homeowners, more affordable housing and a spending increase for public safety.

Those are some of the highlights of the city’s $3.4 billion budget plan for the 2024 fiscal year.

“This budget is reflective of our sense of priority in where best to invest in the future of Oahu and its people,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, at a news conference on Thursday morning.

“It has been constructed to address head on the difficult challenges that the City and County is facing, not the least of which is the high cost of living many of our friends and neighbors are experiencing.”

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Starting in July, the city said more than 151,000 homeowners on Oahu will be eligible for the one-time, $300 tax credit.

While the credit will mean about $45 million in lost revenue, the city said it will help homeowners whose property values have soared with the booming real estate market.

“The one-time exemption, I believe is historic. I don’t think the city has ever provided such a credit,” said Andrew Kawano, director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.

The city said it will budget nearly $600 million for emergency services, the fire department and the police department. The city will also spend $100 million to purchase land for affordable housing projects.

“We’re in a much better place than we were a year ago and obviously two years ago during the pandemic,” said Kawano.

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Meanwhile, the rail project ― which the city says will start interim operations later this year ― will require about $85 million to operate and maintain.

But Blangiardi said that now that the Federal Transit Administration has approved the city’s recovery plan, the rail project is now on much better ground.

The budget bill next goes to the City Council for consideration.