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Mayor wants Maui to buy land for park

Central Maui will get a major new park complex if Mayor Alan Ara­kawa has his way, the Maui News reports.

Arakawa proposed Friday using $4 million from the county’s Open Space Fund to purchase 242 acres in the Wai­kapu-Wai­ale area, and said he is negotiating with owner Alexander & Baldwin for the sale. He also said Senate President Shan Tsu­tsui and other Maui legislators are working to get state funding to purchase additional lands near Maui Lani.

"(It’s) not for next year, not for five years from now, but we are looking to create this park that will live for generations," Ara­kawa said during the presentation of his annual budget proposal.

The property is a roughly triangular parcel bordered by Kui­he­lani Highway and Waiko Road.

Other items in Ara­kawa’s proposed $632 million budget:

» $16.2 million toward replacing the public safety radio system

» $10 million to renovate the aging Wai­ka­moi Flume

Budget taps surplus cash from the past

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s office announced last week a proposed increase of 12 percent in the 2012 operating budget to $165 million, the Garden Island newspaper reports.

Property tax revenues are expected to continue their decline by an estimated 6 percent to $76.6 million for the next fiscal year, so the budget proposes diverting nearly all of the county’s unappropriated surplus revenue from previous years, almost $32 million, to compensate for next year’s shortfalls.

This fiscal year, property taxes account for $81.5 million of the county’s $147 million total operating budget, or 55 percent.

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