FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2004
MAYOR SENDS 2005 OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGETS
TO CITY COUNCIL
Mayor Jeremy Harris today sent to the City Council the operating and capital budgets
for fiscal year 2004-2005. The operating budget has no increase in single family or apartment residential property tax rates or increase to the sewer fund.
Mayor Harris is also not recommending any type of residential refuse pickup charge in the FY 2005 year operating budget, which is $1.22 billion. When compared to last year’s operating budget, the FY 2005 budget is just 4.1% more, mostly attributable to escalating fixed costs that are beyond the City’s control (employee retirement, health fund and workman’s compensation).
The FY 2005 capital budget, as submitted totals $286.5 million, compared to $276.8 million in FY 2004. Highlights of the capital budget include:
· $120 million in wastewater projects
· $40 million in street and parking lot improvements
· $11.4 million in mass transportation
· $7.5 million in sidewalk improvements and curb ramps
· $10.2 million in bridge, flood control, rock slide and drainage improvements
The capital budget also includes $10 million in energy conservation improvements and solar energy initiatives, an amount the Mayor said would be returned to the city in energy savings.
“Honolulu has established itself as a forerunner in the area of energy conservation and renewable energy, as exemplified by such initiatives as the replacement of our traffic signals with energy-saving light-emitting diodes at a savings of more than $250,000 annually,” the Mayor said. “These investments are environmentally sustainable and provide real savings to taxpayers.”
Other budget highlights include:
· An island-wide curbside recycling program with no fee or refuse pickup charge.
· A Rent-to-Own program that offers the current occupants of city-owned low-to-moderate income residential units an opportunity to purchase their units and keep their mortgage payments at the same level as their current rent. This will allow them to achieve the dream of owning their own home.
· A $117 million reduction in the city’s debt through the sale of its rental housing projects.
· The addition of $30 million to the city’s Special Reserve Fund to advance its commitment to a strong reserve balance.
Mayor Harris concluded, “This balanced budget is full of innovative ideas and reflects the fiscally prudent thinking and concern that has been the hallmark of this administration. It is a budget that not only benefits the residents of today, but also lays out a sound financial plan for the future.”