WAILUKU >> Several residents spoke yesterday against proposals to decrease Maui County's property tax rate.
Tax cut notBy Gary T. Kubota
all on Maui
During a public hearing in the County Council chambers, residents said they want no rate cut and want tax dollars spent on building projects to improve the quality of life.
Mayor James "Kimo" Apana has proposed a 2 percent reduction in the property tax rate -- a cut that would lower homeowners' rates to $3.63 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the lowest in the state.
Some Council members have suggested lowering the rate by 6 percent to the 1999 rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
During the hearing, residents said they would much rather see money spent on improvements such as a senior citizens center in Lahaina.
West Maui resident May Fujiwara said she has heard people talking about building the center for 20 years.
Fujiwara said a 6 percent decrease in rates would amount to a savings of only about $30 to $50 for most homeowners.
Kihei resident Joseph Fradin, a retiree, said the county administration should be using the money to improve the quality of life.
"The few dollars, even for me, isn't going to amount to much," he said.
Ron Sturtz, another Kihei resident, said he would like to see county money used for some long-term planning and work on coastal erosion.
One resident complained, however, about his assessment going up by more than 41 percent this year because of nearby construction in Kuau.
The Council plans to hold the next public hearing on the budget on May 14, and to pass the annual budget on May 14 and the final budget on May 29.