Saturday, March 27, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

Council bill
gives tax break to
condo owners

Those who don't have
rubbish pickup would get a
property tax refund

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


Never mind a garbage pickup fee on single-family homeowners.

Three City Council members want to make tax refunds available for condominium and apartment owners who don't get rubbish collection.

Councilman Jon Yoshimura, author of the bill, says the system is unfair to the majority of condominium owners, who don't get the service and pay for private collection.

"For a long time now, condominium owners have felt somewhat cheated because while we all pay property taxes, not everyone gets trash service," Yoshimura said.

Yoshimura is introducing the measure with Council members Duke Bainum and Andy Mirikitani. The three represent the districts most densely populated with condominium and apartment buildings.

Under the proposal, condominium owners would be able to file for a tax refund if they didn't receive city collection but instead had been paying a private refuse company for service during the previous city fiscal year, which runs from July to June.

The bill leaves the amount of the refund blank.

"I don't think we know, at this point, enough about the specifics to put in a dollar figure," Yoshimura said.

Jane Sugimura, president of the Hawaii Council of Associations of Apartment Owners, said her group favors the bill's intent.

"For condominium people, this type of relief is coming at a time when they really need it, with the economy so bad and maintenance fees going up," Sugimura said. "Things are getting very difficult."

She said, however, the bill limits the rebate offer to owner-occupants. All condo and apartment owners, whether they live in their units or not, are paying for private collection and should be entitled to the rebate, she said.

Sugimura also believes the process proposed for getting a rebate is too cumbersome and should instead be set up like the procedure in place for homeowner exemptions.

Mayor Jeremy Harris had no immediate comment on the bill.

The mayor, when he unveiled his budget earlier this month, proposed charging households and businesses that get trash pickup $3 a week as a means of generating tax revenues.

E-mail to City Desk

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