No new taxes… no layoffs… an end to employee furloughs… if the Hawaii County budget sounds good to be true, that may be because the chair of the County Council says it takes huge financial risks with the future.
Mayor Billy Kenoi announced he and his team had closed a $38.8 million dollar gap in the $366,128,670 budget when he submitted it to the council on March 1st. Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong says its technically a balanced budget, but he sees it as more of a deferred budget.
Yagong called a press conference at the Hawaii County Council chambers in Hilo on Thursday to share his scrutiny of the proposal. A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for Monday at 5 pm in Hilo.
Yagong says that $3 million in payments towards debt service is being postponed to the 2012-2013, and the larger $21 million in GASB 45 payments is also being deferred to the same fiscal year. A payroll lag will also save $6 million, although once again, a later budget will have to deal with the carryover.
Yagong says the mayor’s proposal puts the 2012-2013 budget in the hole by $24 million, or $30 million if the payroll lag is also to be paid next fiscal year.
Yagong said that this is not the mayor’s budget, nor the council’s budget. He said the budget belongs to the people because they are the ones footing the bill. He also said that he was not representing any of the other council members when making his presentation.
Yagong also offered some considerations for balancing the budget without relying too heavily on defferals. We’ll have those ideas in our next newscast.
For more on Kenoi’s budget proposal, visit our continuing budget coverage section, where you will also find links to older budget stories, like last year’s budget debate.