White’s proposed budget $23 million lower than mayor’s

WAILUKU — Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mike White is seeking to cut Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposed county budget for next fiscal year by $23 million and is proposing to not raise any real property taxes.

He is considering proposed hikes in water rates and fees, though.

On Monday morning, White presented his proposed budget to committee members, who this week will work together to come up with their own version of the budget for fiscal 2014-2015 that begins July 1. The committee has set an internal deadline of Friday and has reserved Saturday if needed to finish up its version of the budget. The council has a June 10 deadline to pass a budget or the mayor’s budget will take effect.

White is seeking to decrease Arakawa’s proposed budget from $574 million to $551 million. Last year, the council passed a $550 million budget.

Maui County Communications Director Rod Antone did not comment to the specifics of White’s proposal, noting that it is currently a council committee matter.

“It’s really with the council right now. It’s up to the members to decide what they think of Mike’s proposal because they got to vote on it,” Antone said.

In his presentation to members, White told the committee that it “should not rush to increase tax rates while the economy is still recovering.”

Arakawa is seeking to hike property taxes from a low of a 4.8 percent increase for the apartment classification to a high of 13 percent for those in the improved residential classification.

While White is not seeking to increase real property taxes, he did note in his presentation that everyone in the county should carry a fair share of the load and noted that those in the homeowner category have carried substantially less of the burden than other categories.

In his proposed budget, Arakawa did not propose an increase in the homeowner category, noting that classification saw a “significant increase last fiscal year” with the average homeowner tax bill going up 24 percent.

White also is seeking to keep most county fees the same as this year and does not want to increase the tipping fees at the landfill or implement higher rates for planning fees.

Arakawa was seeking to increase the solid waste tipping fees at landfills from $61 to $75 per ton. The Planning Department was seeking a new rate structure to help recoup up to 30 percent of the cost of issuing planning permits.

White is proposing to not add any more expansion job positions and additional premium pay and to leave nonprofit funding at the same level as this year.