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PUBLIC SAFETY PROJECTS NOT AT RISK

(Tues., April 3, 2012)—The Honolulu Fire Department, the Honolulu Police Department and the Emergency Services Department today announced that the capital improvement projects for their respective agencies are appropriate and have not been jeopardized in any way due to the rail project.

            “The City administration has supported the HFD’s CIP budget requests and allotted appropriate funding,” said HFD Chief Kenneth Silva. “The HFD CIP budget is part of a six-year planning and budgeting cycle. Any changes that have occurred in HFD’s CIP budget are a result of planning changes. HFD’s CIP funding is currently adequate to address agency needs and to sustain its ability to keep the community safe.”

            Honolulu Police Deputy Chief Dave Kajihiro said, “HPD has not seen major decreases to its CIP budget. Fluctuations have resulted from adjustments made in plans for upcoming projects. Necessary projects continue to be funded.”

            “Under Mayor Carlisle, EMS services have actually increased for Oahu,” said Dr. Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “While EMS services are funded by the state, the City decided to expand services in Waipio and the downtown Honolulu area in 2011 with savings achieved through management efficiencies, particularly reducing overtime expenses. As for our Ocean Safety Division, we also expanded lifeguarding services in 2011 with the addition of a rescue ski unit on the North Shore of Oahu.”

            These agencies are responding to a self-described “truth squad” that last week accused the City of cutting public health and safety capital improvement projects to help pay for the rail project. These false and erroneous statements regarding the rail project and how it relates to other capital improvement projects were corrected by the City that same day to avoid fear and confusion.

            “From the beginning, this administration has strived to be fiscally responsible without compromising public safety” said Mayor Peter Carlisle. “Rail debt is paid for by rail revenues. Rail revenue includes the GET surcharge tax and federal funds. Rail revenue does not include property taxes. No money is being taken from sewers, road repairs or law enforcement to pay for rail.”

            The City proposed funding 15 percent more public safety capital projects this year, which means $44.6 million in fiscal 2013 compared to $38.5 million in fiscal 2012. The administration continues to spend prudently to address core services and necessary infrastructure.

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Media contact: Louise Kim McCoy, Mayor’s Office, 768-7798.