Big Isle mayor vetoes Council’s budget plan
HILO » Mayor Harry Kim vetoed yesterday the $407.8 million county budget passed by the Hawaii County Council for fiscal year 2009, saying it is "not prudent" because revenues are overestimated.
He says the Council is overestimating hotel room tax revenues
The Council-passed budget is roughly 1.1 percent bigger than the $403.2 million proposal submitted by the mayor.
The biggest change was to the "fund balance," the amount expected to be available next year from money not spent this year. The mayor said the amount will be $16.1 million. The Council said it will be $21.4 million.
Having increased that amount, the Council listed new ways to spend it.
Council Finance Chairman Dominic Yagong said an example is the increase of coqui frog eradication money to $1.2 million from $300,000 proposed by Kim.
Kim said the Council is overestimating the revenues that will be coming from the hotel room tax.
The Council eliminated the mayor's proposed $1 million "rainy day" fund in case revenues are too low. They also eliminated $846,000 proposed for a separate disaster fund, leaving just $154,000.
Yagong said the mayor's budget includes money for county jobs on the books for years but always left vacant.
If the mayor does not fill those posts, there will be enough money to fund the budget, Yagong said.
Kim said the Council is likely to override his veto. The Council's version was passed June 2 on an 8-0 vote.
If they override him and there is not enough money, the budget will have to be amended later, Kim said.
The last time there was a budget veto was in 1999 when Mayor Stephen Yamashiro vetoed certain line items, county Finance Director Bill Takaba said.
The Council's $407.8 million budget, which starts July 1, is 8.8 percent bigger than the $375 million budget of the current year ending June 30.