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Thursday, September 18, 2014         

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Council, Caldwell seek tax changes

Bills would give homeowners a rebate and base rates on property use

By Leila Fujimori

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City officials have proposed ways to provide relief to the 250 home and building owners who faced fourfold increases in property taxes due to city rezoning actions.

City Councilman Romy Cachola introduced two bills Thursday with members Ikaika Anderson, Todd Apo and Ann Kobayashi. One provides a cash rebate, including interest, to affected taxpayers. The second removes the need to dedicate properties as residential in commercial- or industrial-zoned areas and bases property taxes on use.

Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell introduced two bills and offered a proposal to undo what city assessors did by reclassifying 250 residential properties in areas such as Kalihi, Waipahu, Kapahulu and Moiliili to either commercial or industrial.

Under the law those property owners, some of whom received notice in December, had no alternative but to pay the higher property taxes for this year.

Caldwell unveiled his latest bill Wednesday, which would refund to affected property owners the difference between taxes paid at the commercial or industrial rate on Aug. 20, the due date, and the residential rate.

To qualify, the property must be for residential use only, and the applicant must apply by Sept. 1 for a five-year dedication for residential use.

On Monday, Caldwell announced a bill for a tax credit to be paid to taxpayers over time. On Aug. 19 he made a different proposal to allow taxpayers to pay their increases on a payment plan.

Cachola said Caldwell now seems to be "almost on the same wavelength, but it took them several options" before coming up with what Council members are proposing.

Application for property dedication are available at https://www.realpropertyhonolulu.com/portal/rpadcms?parent=HOME&code=-1.






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