Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Hawaii County

13,228 homes on Big Island
to see small tax increase

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> Big Island Mayor Harry Kim won another request for a property tax increase yesterday, although a minor one relating to minimums.

The Finance Committee of the County Council voted 6-2 to raise the minimum tax for certain properties in the homeowner class.

Kim earlier won increases of 16 percent to 25 percent on various property tax rates.

The minimums apply only when certain exemptions would reduce a tax bill to little or nothing.

For properties valued at less than $25,000, the minimum would remain $25 per year, which had been applied across the board in the homeowner class. But taxes on properties worth $25,000 to $50,000 will increase to $50 and taxes on those valued at $50,000 to $75,000 will be $75.

Higher valued homeowner properties will pay at least $100 per year. The Council last year set the $100 minimum for the eight other classes of property.

The increases would yield $213,000, not effective until 2003-2004, said county finance director Bill Takaba. The county budget for 2002-2003 is $205 million.

Council member Julie Jacobson, a Green Party member from upper Puna, where many of the 13,228 affected properties are located, voted for the measure saying it was a "very gentle, sensible increase."

But Gary Safarik, a Democrat from lower Puna, also with many affected properties, voted against it saying he was "a little dismayed" by Jacobson's stance. Council Chairman Jimmy Arakaki joined Safarik in voting against the increase.

Hawaii County

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