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    NEWS RELEASE

                            Department of Customer Services
                            City & County of Honolulu
                            523-4385

                                                                                                                      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2002 

Statement by Mayor Jeremy Harris on Budget CD1 

          Mayor Jeremy Harris issued the following statement in response to changes to the City’s 2003 budget proposed by Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi. 

          “Changes to next year’s City budget proposed by Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi are irresponsible at best, will result in layoffs and will jeopardize the public health and safety.  Across-the-board reductions of five percent cuts for non-public safety agencies, such as Environmental Services, and one-percent cuts for public safety departments, such as Fire and Police, will be devastating.  They will result in citywide layoffs.  The following are a few examples of her ill-advised recommendations. 

·        Cuts to police and fire budgets will reduce their ability to recruit and train new employees, eventually reducing the size of each force.

·        Reductions in Corporation Counsel and City Prosecutor budgets will severely limit our ability to defend the City in court and prosecute criminals. 

·         Nearly all of our efforts in Waikiki will be shut down.  Brunch and Sunset on the Beach will close.  Cultural activities, such as our torch-lighting ceremonies will stop.  Even the budget to feed the zoo animals has been slashed.

·        Other economic development programs, such as our Film Office and the staff at our Small Business Resource Center will be history.

·        Enterprise Services has been affected, and that means that Golf courses may have to close or limit their hours.

·        Cuts to Parks and Recreations positions will surely be felt in reduced Summer Fun and Seniors programs.  Park maintenance will plummet.

·        Some sidewalks and roads will suffer because of a lack of repair money, and the “Pothole Hotline” will not be manned.  Responsiveness will be degraded.

·        All of our cultural grants have been wiped out.  The Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Theater are among those that will suffer.  There will be no cultural performances in Honolulu Hale, and even the Royal Hawaiian Band’s concerts may have to be reduced.

·        Even programs that are reimbursed by State funds, such as Commercial Driver Licensing, have been eliminated.  Deadbeat dads will be able to evade providing child support because of cuts in the Corporation Counsel’s budget.

·        The City’s ability to get federal funds has been greatly reduced in some areas because matching funds are gone.  

          “Clearly, the draft was assembled in haste and without consultation by people with a very limited knowledge of the complex budget process.     Some of the amendments in the proposed operating budget are contradictory and reflect confusion on the part of the small group who assembled it.  You cannot on one hand pretend to be concerned about our wastewater system, and then proceed to slash the positions that are essential to its operation. 

          “As elected officials, we are mandated to look after the public interest.  We have always been open and available to work with the Council toward this end.  I submitted a lean but balanced budget to them that funded essential services--to include debt service--without increasing real property tax rates or user fees or causing layoffs.  It was a budget that respected the taxpayers—a budget that kept Honolulu safe and clean, provided programs for families and seniors, supported small business and helped our economy.   I cannot believe that the callous reductions that make up the proposed CD1 represent the views of the members of the Budget Committee.  They certainly do not benefit the citizens of the City and County of Honolulu.”   

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Tuesday, July 09, 2002

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