Video by David Corrigan
The political back and forth over the Hawaii County budget that played out in the media between Mayor Billy Kenoi and the council majority has come to an end.
The original budget proposed by the mayor four months ago will become law.
All alterations to the $366 million spending plan by the council over recent months have been rendered moot, since the council could not muster the 6 votes needed to override the mayor’s veto of the council’s amendments.
The mayor and the corporation counsel (which also represents the county council) said the amended budget was illegal and violated county code. Some councilmembers did not agree.
With all the debate over open space funds, deferred payments, and golf subsidies, the final votes were cast mostly along political allegiance lines.
As expected, Dominic Yagong, Angel Pilago, Brenda Ford, Brittany Smart and Pete Hoffmann voted to override the mayor’s veto. The five councilmembers shared the philosophy that the county should pay as much as possible into the GasB45 payment obligation.
The three Hilo councilmembers, Donald Ikeda, J Yoshimoto and Dennis Onishi voted “no” to the override, supporting the mayor’s decision to go with his original proposal without the changes.
The x-factor in the vote was Fred Blas, who also voted “no” to the override.
A bill to adjust the county code pertaining to the 2% public access and open space land fund was withdrawn by Dominic Yagong at Thursday’s special council meeting. The amended budget called for a reduction in the contribution to the land fund, but it would have conflicted with the county code.
The final details, for those trying to keep score of the ever changing county budget:
The West Hawaii Golf Subsidy survives
$20 million in GasB45 payments will be deferred in full till the next fiscal year.
The 2% public access and open space land fund remains untouched
An amendment to fund the purchase of police radios fails.
Mayor Billy Kenoi and his family are currently on vacation in Japan. Administration officials say the trip, which includes a visit with his children’s great-grandmother who lives in Kagoshima, will return home on July 3.