June 3, 2010 – Video by David Corrigan
Mere hours after Mayor Billy Kenoi held a press conference to slam the numerous budget cuts being proposed by some members of the Hawaii County Council, Hamakua councilman Dominic Yagong held a community meeting on the Hilo district border, at the Wainaku Gym.
The sparsely attended meeting was the first of three planned by Yagong, with another scheduled for June 3 at Honokaa Gym and June 4 at the Papaaloa Gym Annex.
The discussion centered around Yagong’s 25 amendment proposals that would trim the budget by over $15 million if approved. The council is hoping to take a bite out of the $25 million that will be generated by revenue neutral property tax adjustments, that will essentially raise property taxes in a number of different real estate classifications. Yagong refuted the mayor’s claim that the cuts were ill advised.
According to the agenda for Monday’s council meeting, and verified by printed handouts distributed at the Wainaku meeting, Yagong’s plan to trim the budget by:
1. $700,000 generated with the introduction of a $1 Hele-On bus fare
2. $1,133,641 cut in Police Department expenditures
3. $288,000 cut in Fire Department expenditures
4. $5,000,000 cut in Post employment Benefits Expenditures
5. $107,018 cut by unfunding vacant positions in Data.
6. $96,416 cut by unfunding vacant positions in Finance.
7. $200,820 cut by unfunding vacant positions in the Prosecuting Attorney.
8. $36,000 cut from Humane Society for misc. contract service
9. $200,000 cut in Worker’s Compensation
10. $669,713 cut by unfunding vacant positions in Parks and Rec
11. $58,591 cut from the Golf Course
12. $268,200 cut from Public Works’ “other current expenses”
13. $250,563 cut by unfunding vacant positions in Public Works
14. $289,800 cut from travel and conference expenses for all departments
15. $8,000 cut in Environmental Management
16. $4,000 cut in Planning
17. $106,108 cut from Human Resources
18. $6,000 cut from Corporation Counsel
19. $54,775 cut from Prosecuting Attorney’s “other current expenses”
20. $814,750 cut from Parks and Recreation, inlcuding West Hawaii Golf subsidy
21. $201,425 in cuts from the clerk, HSAC, and machine room costs
22. $60,000 cut from the Office of Management
23. $64,076 cut Environmental Management, 2 unfunded vacant positions
24. $651,616 cut from Solid Waste Fund by unfunding 13 positions
25. $1,389,382 cut from overtime costs
Yagong also hopes that letters sent to the fire and police department will convince the employees of those departments to fore go nearly $3 million in pay raises. Yagong calculates all the cuts amount to $15,621,941.
Yagong leads all other councilmembers in the number of his planned amendments, as well as the grand total, with the exception of Kelly Greenwell, who wants to amend the budget to cut the entire $23 million in property tax increases and making up for it (and then some) with federal stimulus funds to the tune of $50 million.
The mayor said he will likely veto the plan if all the amendments are included. The council would need six votes to override such a veto.