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Tuesday, June 22, 2004



City & County of Honolulu

Harris trims
Council budget
by $703,000

Line-item vetoes cut funds from
Olelo TV and conference plans




CORRECTION

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The City Council contracts with Infotech for broadcast services such as televising Council meetings on Olelo Community Television. An article on Page A3 yesterday incorrectly said the contract was with Olelo.



The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.


Mayor Jeremy Harris has backed off vetoing the City Council's entire $11.9 million operating budget, deciding instead to pare $703,000 -- an action that could cut back broadcasting of meetings and planning for a national conference.

"In the spirit of compromise, I will not veto the entire Council budget," Harris wrote in his veto message to the Council.

Yesterday was the deadline for Harris to decide what he would do on the legislative, $1.22 billion executive operating and capital improvement budgets.

Harris said his line-item veto would not affect jobs and there wouldn't be funding cuts to elections or the city auditor operations.

The mayor vetoed $646,742 from one account. The two largest budgeted items are a $275,000 contract with Olelo Community Television to broadcast Council meetings and $815,000 to plan for a National Association of Counties conference that will be held in Honolulu next year.

"(The line-item veto) could seriously affect how a Council member provides information and responses to their constituents. It could possibly impact NACO and Olelo," Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said.

Harris said he is concerned about the high pricetag for the NACO conference, and offered the Council help in planning the conference. "I am willing to have our conference organizers meet with your NACO coordinator to provide insights that have produced efficiencies and savings."

Dela Cruz said the NACO conference is an event that this Council inherited from a previous Council.

A total of $56,258 was cut from the other vetoed account. What remains are a $9,100 NACO membership and about $38,000 divided equally among the nine Council members, Dela Cruz said.

That money is used for costs that include postage, printing, conferences and travel.

"That way the Council member can use that money the best they see fit, so if they have to go to NACO or if they have to go to National League (of Cities) or if they want to do a district mailer or whatever the case may be, they can use that money," Dela Cruz said.

Harris said that even though his veto reduces the Council's budget to $11.2 million, it's still 24 percent higher than last year.

Harris said his line-item veto will achieve savings needed to balance the budget after the Council overstated parking fee revenues and underfunded collective bargaining pay raises for Hawaii Government Employees Association-represented workers.

When asked if the Council would override the line-item veto of the legislative budget, Dela Cruz said, "I think we have to individually talk to the members."

Harris also made good on his promise to delete several budget restrictions and conditions on the use of appropriations including $240,000 for the Kaimuki trolley. Council members said such a veto would kill the trolley.

Harris also took out a proviso that would have left the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts without any money to run the office.



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