(BIVN) – On Wednesday, the Hawaiʻi County Council held a special meeting in Hilo to consider Bill 30, the proposed operating budget for the County of Hawai‘i.
Draft 2 of the proposed Operating Budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020 includes estimated revenues and appropriations of $583,852,529, for a 12.7 percent increase over last year’s budget, officials say. The second draft of the spending plan “reflects an increase in estimated revenues and appropriations of $10,314,406 over the first draft due to updated projections for real property tax revenues, the Fund Balance From Previous Year, and the General Excise Fund.”
The latest budget draft also proposes 21 additional positions, for a total of 93 new positions.
Anticipating questions from the council and the public concerning increases in the budget, the Finance Department provided a presentation before the deliberations began.
Finance Director Deanna Sako and Deputy Director Steven Hunt sat said-by-side, and walked the councilmembers through a series of slides, which explained that the “primary reasons for a growing budget” are:
- Increasing cost of employees, both past and present, related to Collective Bargaining Raises, Retirement Contributions, and Health Insurance Premiums
- Debt Service increasing from new capital projects and converting bond anticipation notes to actual bond issuances
- New or enhanced services – expanding Mass Transit, more road resurfacing, new wastewater treatment plants, etc.
- Receiving and expending grant monies
The Hawaiʻi County Council voted to advance the budget bill to the next reading.