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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM PUBLIC INFORMATION DIVISION

DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMER SERVICES

MARCH 2, 2003

MAYOR SENDS LEAN 2004 OPERATING BUDGET AND REDUCED CAPITAL BUDGET TO CITY COUNCIL

           Mayor Jeremy Harris today sent to the City Council a balanced operating budget and a capital budget for Fiscal Year 2003-2004 that total $1.4669 billion or 6.8% below the combined budgets of the current fiscal year.

 The Mayor described the process as “gut-wrenching” and the most difficult budget period in his nine years as Mayor. Department and agency budgets have been brought in $14 million below the current year making them the most austere in memory.

 “It’s important to note that we have already cut over $100 million from the department and agency budgets before sending them down to the City Council,” the Mayor said. “The cuts included the unfunding of nearly 1,000 positions to save $32 million. But there will be no layoffs,” he added.

 Honolulu remains one of the 10 best managed cities in the United States and continues to hold a “AA” credit rating by the national bond credit rating agencies, making our City one of the top 15% most credit worthy cities in America.

 The administration’s FY 2003-2004 capital budget of $288.5 million is $167 million less than this year’s capital budget. It focuses on wastewater collection and treatment systems, road resurfacing and transportation.

 Other budget highlights include:

§        A modest increase in property tax rates to increase revenues to $427.2 million, which is $5.5 million less than what was collected in 1994.

§        Apartment owners will receive their third property rate decrease (4.5%) so that they will be now be paying the same tax rate as single-family homeowners.

§        Residential tax rates will increase by 2.7%.

§        Commercial, Industrial, Agricultural, Conservation and Hotel/Resort classes have been paying different rates in the past. They will now pay a unified rate of $10.63 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. However, all these categories will still pay less taxes than they did in FY 1994.

§        A new refuse service program will be initiated this summer that will feature once a week refuse pickup, twice a month curbside recycling and green waste pickup and an optional 3rd day per week refuse pick-up for $8 per month.

 

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Monday, March 03, 2003

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