Maui County

Maui budget bill has
vehicle weight tax hike

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> Maui County residents would pay about 66 percent more for the annual weight tax for passenger vehicles under legislation in the $268.8 million Council budget.

The budget, passed in an 8-0 vote Thursday and sent to Mayor James Apana for his review, also includes a weight tax increase of about 33 percent for trucks, trailers and heavy-equipment road vehicles.

The bill, adding about $10 to $20 yearly to each passenger vehicle, increases the per-pound weight fee to 1.25 cents from three-quarters of a cent for passenger vehicles and to 2 cents from 1.5 cents for trucks, trailers and heavy-equipment road vehicles.

In addition, the Council raised the vehicle registration fee to $9.50 from $6 -- enough, according to a Council analyst, to meet the cost of processing applications.

The Council's operating and capital improvement budget is about $4.5 million less than the $273.3 million budget proposed by Apana on March 15.

If signed by Apana, the registration fee increase will take effect in July, and the weight tax increase on Jan. 1.

Council Budget Chairman Riki Hokama said the increase in weight tax fees will raise about $1 million more in road repair revenues for half of fiscal year 2002-2003 and an estimated $2 million in fiscal 2003-2004.

Hokama said the increase was needed to maintain about 600 miles of county roads.

Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares said the weight tax had not been raised in 20 years and that taxpayers would understand the reason for the increase.

Councilman Alan Arakawa, who voted against the weight tax legislation but for the budget bill, said economic times were hard for some residents, and he did not think it was wise to raise taxes.

The Council reduced a request by Apana for a revolving loan fund for homeowners to buy solar water heaters to $250,000 from $1 million and took out $850,000 designated for the purchase of a 25-acre soccer complex near the Lahaina Aquatic Center in West Maui.

Maui County

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