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Hawaii County budget tug-of-war continues

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Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie SalazarBig Island Video News

Karin Stanton and Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

The Hawaii County 2011-2012 budget is in a state of limbo after Mayor Billy Kenoi vetoed the $367.3 million version passed unanimously by the Council.

Kenoi said he was ‘baffled’ and ‘outraged’ by the changes made by the Council. Specifically, Kenoi challenged an amendment that cut 10 percent from all county departments via a newly created expense account.

Letters by Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida submitted to Finance Director Nancy Crawford and the Mayor’s office stated the amended budget may be in violation of the County Charter.

Ashida said Council use of the “Council Adjusted Expense Account” would constitute a violation of the separation of powers mandated in Article III of the Hawaii County Charter.

In a news conference Monday, Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said the Corporation Council faces an inherent conflict of interest as it simultaneously represents the Council and the Mayor.

Yagong said he will introduce a resolution at Friday’s meeting to seek special legal counsel for an additional opinion. That will cost no more than $8,000.

Yagong said he wonders whether the latest budget tussle is a legal question or political question.

The resolution will be introduced at the special council meeting Friday in Hilo.

The council has a June 30 deadline to vote on the budget and needs six votes to override the mayor’s veto.


Hilo Council Chambers
9 a.m. Friday, June 24

Note: All Public Testimony will begin at the beginning of the scheduled meeting.

Communications & Order of Resolutions

Legislation of Possible interest:

Res. 88-11: RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE RETENTION OF SPECIAL COUNSEL BY THE HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL TO PROVIDE LEGAL OPINION REGARDING (1) FORM AND/OR LEGALITY OF BILL 29, DRAFT 4, THE PROPOSED OPERATING BUDGET FOR THE COUNTY OF HAWAII FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-2012 AS ADOPTED BY THE HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL ON JUNE 1, 2011; (2) THE VETO MESSAGE FOR BILL 29, DRAFT 4, AS TRANSMITTED BY THE HONORABLE MAYOR WILLIAM P. KENOI, DATED JUNE 15, 2011; AND (3) THE LETTER BY CORPORATION COUNSEL LINCOLN S.T. ASHIDA TO FINANCE DIRECTOR NANCY CRAWFORD, DATED JUNE 14, 2011, REGARDING BILL 29, DRAFT 4 …. Establishes the necessity for authorizing the hiring of special counsel to provide legal opinion to the Hawaii County Council regarding Bill 29, Draft 4, Mayor William P. Kenoi’s veto of Bill 29, Draft 4, and Corporation Counsel Lincoln S. T. Ashida’s June 14, 2011 legal communication alleging legal infirmities. Special Counsel shall be compensated at an hourly rate or rates consistent with prevailing rates in the community for specified services to be rendered for a total compensation not to exceed $8,000. Intr. by: Mr. Yagong Waived: FC
Bills for Ordinances (FIRST READING):

Legislation of Possible interest:

Bill 61: AMENDS CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE 42, HAWAII COUNTY CODE 1983 (2005 EDITION, AS AMENDED), RELATING TO THE PUBLIC ACCESS, OPEN SPACE, AND NATURAL RESOURCES PRESERVATION FUND (PONC) ….. Amends subsection (b)(7), stating that notwithstanding subsection (b)(5), for the period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, two percent of Hawaii County real property tax revenues collected, less $1,000,000, shall be allocated or deposited into the fund (PONC) by June 30, 2012. Re: Comm. 229 Intr. by: Mr. Ikeda Negative: FC-70 (due to a vote of 3-ayes and 6-noes)

Bill 63: AMENDS CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE 42, SECTION 2-214, HAWAII COUNTY CODE 1983 (2005 EDITION, AS AMENDED), RELATING TO THE PUBLIC ACCESS, OPEN SPACE, AND NATURAL RESOURCES PRESERVATION FUND…. Amends subsection (b)(5), stating that a minimum of one percent of Hawaii County certified real property tax revenues, including penalties and interest, collected annually, deposits shall be made, at a minimum, on a quarterly basis. Deposits shall be calculated based on the real property tax payments, including penalties and interest, collected in the quarter immediately preceding the deposit. The amendment also deletes subsection (b)(7). Re: Comm. 239 Intr. by: Mr. Yagong Waived: FC

Order of the day (SECOND or FINAL READING)



In person at the following sites: The West Hawaii Civic Center, Hilo Council Chambers or from the Waimea Council offices.

Written testimony: Those submitting written testimony at the meeting should bring 14 copies for distribution.

Written testimony: Testimony (1 copy) may be submitted before noon on the business day prior to the meeting:

(1) by mail to the County Clerk’s Office in Hilo at 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720

(2) by fax to (808) 961-8912

(3) by email to

One Response to “Hawaii County budget tug-of-war continues”

  1. vet2640 says:

    Perhaps Mr. Yagong and his “cronies” should “pony-up” the $8,000 for his “second opinion”.

    The “circus” has not left town yet!!


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