POSTED: 01:26 p.m. HST, Apr 29, 2014
WAILUKU >> The chairman of the Maui County Council's Budget and Finance Committee wants to decrease property tax rates by 3.1 percent in the fiscal 2015 budget.
Chairman Mike White also is proposing to cut county overtime pay, eliminate any new county positions and keep trash collection fees flat, the Maui News reported Tuesday. White discussed his proposed budget on Monday.
His proposal calls for a $594 million budget, $29 million lower than Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed budget of $623 million. The Maui County Council approved a $559.3 million budget last year.
Arakawa originally sought an across-the-board increase of about 6.5 percent that he has said could be dropped if state lawmakers eliminated the hotel room tax. Legislators instead increased the $93 million cap to $103 million 2015 in 2016
Arakawa said Monday he didn't feel the need to increase property taxes. He said other solutions, such as delaying some projects and "creative cuts" by the committee, could be sought.
The mayor has said the increases would help with project funding as well as keeping up with day-to-day services.
White told committee members that property-tax rates are currently rising, so rates should be lowered as well.
"As valuations rise, we must provide relief to taxpayers," he said in council chambers while presenting his proposal.
White also said there are many reasons for reducing the budget, noting that the county is not yet on "solid economic footing."
To compensate for Maui's lagging economy, the county needs to be prepared to find an estimated $100 million in additional revenue to pay for mandated collective-bargaining increases through fiscal year 2017, he said.
The fiscal 2015 year begins July 1.