July 1, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan
On Wednesday, Mayor Billy Kenoi held a press conference at the county building in Hilo to go over the county furloughs, which begin this Friday.
There will be 24 furlough days in all, which the county says is part of an effort to offset budget deficits while avoiding employee layoffs.
The furloughs will occur on the first and third Fridays of each month through June 2011. The only exception will be August 20, which is a Friday that falls on Admissions Day – a state holiday. That furlough day will be taken on the following Monday, August 23.
Nearly all county businesses and administrative offices will be closed to the public on furlough days, which the mayor admits will impact the level of service the government can provide. However, essential services and some other programs will continue to operate.
In the videos above, Mayor Kenoi first details the furlough closures, and in the second video, fields questions from reporters.
The county also provided this thorough list of what’s open and closed on county furlough days:
Normal uniformed police and fire protection services will be provided. County police and fire dispatchers will remain on the job on furlough days. Emergency 911 calls will be taken. County Civil Defense officials will remain on call 24 hours a day on furlough days.
Only the South Hilo Records Division will be open on furlough days. All other police district records offices will be closed.
County buses will operate on normal daily schedules on furlough days. Mooheau Bus Terminal, operated by the Downtown Improvement Association, will be open. Mass Transit Agency offices will be closed.
Pools, golf, zoo
The Kona Community Aquatics Center, NAS, Kawamoto, North Kohala, Konawaena, Pahoa, Pahala, Honokaa and Laupahoehoe pools will be open on furlough days. Individual pools may schedule furlough days at other times according to planned activities. Schedules will be posted at each pool.
The Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be open on furlough days. The Panaewa Complex, including the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, also will be open for business as usual on furlough days.
Motor vehicle services
Driver Licensing offices in Hilo, Kona, Waimea and Ka’u (part time) , and the separate Vehicle Registration offices in Hilo and Kona, will be closed on furlough days.
Critical wastewater treatment operations in the Department of Environmental Management will continue operating 24 hours a day without interruption. Solid waste transfer stations are scheduled to remain open according to their current schedules.
Property tax payments
Taxpayers should note that the day property taxes are due, Aug. 20, is Admissions Day, a state and county holiday when the Real Property Tax Division office will be closed. The furlough day will be taken on the following Monday, Aug. 23. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the Division office to pay their tax bills before August 20.
The County Office of Immigration will change its Kona Office Information Outreach from the third Friday of the month to every third Thursday of the each month. Immigration outreach will continue in Waimea every second Friday of the month, and in Naalehu every fourth Friday of the month. Appointments are recommended.
Walk-in reservations for camping and pavilions and other services will not be available from the Department of Parks and Recreation in either Hilo or Kona.
The staffs at County gymnasiums will be on furlough on the first and third Fridays with the exception of July 2010, when furloughs will be taken on Fridays, July 23 and July 30. Gyms may be utilized by the public on furlough days, however, by making reservations with staff prior to the furlough day. In August they will furlough on Friday, August 27, instead of Monday, August 23. Scheduled recreational classes will continue without interruption on furlough days. the Ho’olulu Complex in Hilo will be open as usual.
Elderly programs and facilities will be closed on furlough days. Elderly nutrition sites will not be serving meals on furlough days and Meals on Wheels programs will not be operating. Extra meals will be available to take home on Thursdays, however, and Meals on wheels will deliver extra meals on Thursdays for Friday furlough days.
The Office of Corporation Counsel will be closed and office staff will be unavailable to answer requests for information from the public. Adjustment and settlement of claims made by the public may be delayed. Also, since furlough days will be counted as a non-work day, the response time for public records requests will be extended.
The administrative offices of the Mayor and all other County departments located at 25 Aupuni Street will be closed to the public on furlough days.