(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Council Committee on Finance began its week of department budget and program reviews on Tuesday in Hilo, starting with the traditional opening presentation from the mayor.
Mayor Harry Kim sat down before the council to talk about the first iteration of a balanced budget, which includes estimated revenues and appropriations of $515,710,662. The spending plan is 5.1 percent higher than last year’s budget.
“I’m not happy with this budget and I’m sure none of you are also,” Mayor Kim said, acknowledging that the state legislative session will dictate what he presents in the coming budget revision. “I wish truthfully the discussion would be on possible revenues that are very positive. I think you know that we cannot project any of those revenues. We hope for the (Transient Accommodations Tax, or TAT) we have been assured that has been under review by the legislature. What will come forth, no one knows. I think we all have learned that in past years, what you hear today, sometimes it so very different than what finally comes forward to us.”
“In the event of any additional revenues comes forth to us, like the TAT and GET,” Kim added, “then we come back to you with a revised budget.”
After the mayor gave his short speech, Finance Director Deanna Sako came to the microphone and guided the council through the challenges that the county faces in the upcoming fiscal year.
The council finance committee will continue its departmental review over the next few days.