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Mayor Kenoi signs a smaller budget, cuts county spending


County of Hawai’i Mayor Billy Kenoi signed his administration’s first budget today, a $387 million spending plan that reduces expenditures by 4.1 percent from the current year’s budget. The new spending plan marks the first time the county budget has been reduced since 2001.

The new budget assumes that property tax collections, which are the main source of county revenues, will decline in the coming year by $15 million or 6.5 percent.

The budget does not rely on any property tax increases, and includes adequate funding to continue and expand Hawai’i County’s free, island-wide bus service. It also continues the current level of county funding for non-profit organizations at $1.5 million per year.

The new budget unfunds 55 vacant county positions, which is the largest number of positions unfunded in a single budget in county history. It also includes $41,714 in savings that will be realized by furloughing appointed staff in the mayor’s office for one day a month for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“I am proud of this budget, and thank each of the County Council members for their help in crafting a spending plan that puts our county on solid footing for what we know will be a difficult year,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This budget demonstrates my commitment to sound fiscal management, and protects the essential public safety and social services that our residents rely on.”

The budget was approved by the Hawai’i County Council on June 2 in an 8-1 vote.

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