Mayor signs county’s $1B fiscal year 2023 budget with no vetoes
The Maui News
Mayor Michael Victorino signed Maui County’s record-setting $1.07 billion budget on Thursday afternoon with no line-item vetoes, setting up the new spending plan to take effect July 1.
The fiscal year 2023 budget, approved by the Maui County Council on June 8, the budget includes nearly $806 million for operations and nearly $264 million for capital improvement projects.
“Today we take a major step on our road to recovery by signing the fiscal year 2023 budget,” Victorino said in a news release Thursday. “This budget represents a vital investment in our future, to ensure the people of Maui County can thrive in a changing world.”
Members of the council joined Victorino during the budget signing and news conference on Thursday afternoon, including Chairwoman Alice Lee, Vice Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and Council Members Tasha Kama, Kelly Takaya King, Mike Molina, Tamara Paltin and Yuki-Lei Sugimura.
“I’d first like to applaud the mayor and his team for their courage to propose this fiscal year budget, which was necessary due to the lack of incremental increases that would have happened had the pandemic not hit,” said Rawlins-Fernandez, who chairs the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee.
She also thanked her council colleagues “for including additional initiatives to support our community.”
“It’s up to the council and the administration to work together to accomplish all we set out to do in this budget for our county,” she said.
Council members had expressed some concerns about the record-setting price tag, with Lee describing the budget as “way too high.” However, they ultimately voted 8-0 to pass it, saying they backed the priorities and tax cuts included in the budget.
Victorino said some highlights from the budget, which runs through June 30, 2023, include:
• $55.5 million for wastewater projects, including the new Central Maui Wastewater Reclamation Facility that will expedite new home construction.
• $43 million for the Halau of Oiwi Art in Wailuku town.
• $32.7 million for the Affordable Housing Fund, in addition to $5.5 million in grants for affordable rental programs and support for new homebuyers.
• $28.6 million for Parks and Recreation.
• $28.2 million for roadway improvements.
• $3.8 million for the Park Maui Project that would require visitors to pay for spots at county-owned parking lots.
• Investments in supporting locally grown foods, including $3 million in grants to help farmers and ranchers to boost their business.
The mayor said the county is working with U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and would know by the end of the year if it will receive $11 million in federal funding for county projects, including the Halau of Oiwi Art and improvements to the Maui Police Department’s emergency communications systems in West Maui.