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For Friday, July 15, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff


Workers agree to furloughs in contract with Hawaii County

 Hawaii County has reached a new two-year agreement with the Hawaii Government Employees Association that continues a scaled-down county furlough program to save an estimated $2.1 million per year, according to Mayor Billy Kenoi.

The agreement calls for HGEA members to accept furloughs of one day per month for the two-year period that began July 1, Kenoi said Thursday in a news release. That is equal to a pay reduction of 4.615 percent from pay levels in effect before furloughs first took effect last year.

In a statewide contract earlier this year, the union agreed to a 5 percent pay cut without furlough days.

HGEA members working for Hawaii County approved two furlough days per month during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

"This is a fair agreement that reduces costs and prepares us for the uncertainties ahead," Kenoi said. "It is a part of a larger effort to move the county to more solid financial ground, and to position us for the future."

The new agreement with HGEA retains the existing health insurance premium cost split, with the county paying 60 percent and employees 40 percent, Mayor Kenoi said.

The state HGEA contract called for a 50-50 split on health premiums.

Under the new agreement, the county will impose the first furlough day of the new fiscal year on July 29.

Hunters allowed access to Army training area

The Army announced it will open portions of Keamuku Maneuver Area at Pohakuloa Training Area to hunters on Hawaii island Saturday and Sunday.

Licensed hunters will be allowed access to PTA beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday. Check-in stations for hunters will be the Huluhulu station on the east side of PTA, and the Kilohana and middle Puuanahulu stations on the west side of PTA.

At the check-in stations, hunters will receive information including maps detailing approved access areas, travel routes and hunting areas.

People may call the PTA Hunter's Hotline at 969-3474. For more information, call Army spokesman Mike Egami at 656-3152 or 387-8511.

Liliuokalani's trust receiving $90,000 property tax refund

HILO » Hawaii County is refunding nearly $90,000 in overpaid property taxes to the trust established by Hawaii's last ruling monarch.

West Hawaii Today reported Thursday the county made an error on the Queen Liliu­okalani Trust's tax bill.

The newspaper previously reported the trust was to pay just $25 in taxes this year on a $9.9 million commercial parcel because the county considers it agricultural land following restrictions on the land placed by the County Council in 1993.

The trust is a nonprofit real estate and investment portfolio management firm established in 1909 to care for poor and orphaned children.

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