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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAYOR HARRIS REJECTS PORTIONS OF THE FY 2004 EXECUTIVE OPERATING BUDGET
Mayor Jeremy Harris today let the budget pass without signature and exercised his authority under the City Charter to reject portions of the fiscal year 2004 executive operating budget approved by the City Council earlier this month. The Mayor cited numerous problems with the budget, which, in its present form, are both unlawful and detrimental to City operations.
“The enactment of our budget ordinances and programs is the most important responsibility of the Council,” Mayor Harris said. “The end product of the Council’s efforts this year contains illegal appropriations, careless or negligent errors in deleting and restoring funds or positions, shows a disregard for accuracy in projecting revenues to balance the budget, and disregards the law, all of which harms the citizens of the City and County of Honolulu.”
The following is a summary of the budget’s major flaws as identified by the Mayor:
1. Line-Item Veto – The Council appropriated $400,000 to be used by the Corporation Counsel to fund a settlement that has already been paid, with a proviso that the funds could be used for that purpose only. The Mayor line-item vetoed the proviso language. This will allow the money to be used for other settlements.
2. Illegal Action – The Council illegally transferred the Community Development Block Grant function from the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services to the Department of Community Services in direct violation of the City Charter. The Mayor indicated that he will not implement any Council budget item that the Corporation Counsel has deemed unlawful.
3. Financial Mismanagement – The Council overstated anticipated revenues from park user fees, improperly calculated tax collections, and mismanaged the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Fund so that its surplus cannot be used. Council appropriations for the Honolulu Police Department resulted in a shortage to HPD for salary requirements.
4. Misplaced Priorities – The Council’s priorities will have a detrimental impact on the delivery of existing City services, resulting in:
· The closure of at least two satellite city halls.
· An increase in bus fares from $1.50 to $1.75
· The inability to stock adequate spare parts for City ambulances, street sweepers, refuse collection vehicles and other City vehicles.
· The significant curtailment of City economic development initiatives.
The budget is now returned to the Council, which has between 5 and 30 days to consider the Mayor’s objections.
|Thursday, June 19, 2003|