Maui County

Maui mayor wants
80 more workers

Arakawa proposes funding the additional
employees without having to raise taxes

WAILUKU >> Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed a $367.3 million budget for fiscal 2005 that includes more than 80 additional employees but no increases in tax rates or fees.

The budget, which requires County Council approval, would pay for the additional 80 1/2 positions mainly by collecting revenues from an expanding tax base.

Arakawa's proposed $286.2 million operating budget is about $20.8 million, or 7 percent, more than last year.

The new hires would increase the number of county workers by 3.6 percent to almost 2,288 positions.

Arakawa said he is asking for the increase in county positions because of a jump in county work demands.

"As the housing shortage and increased demand for water has demonstrated, people are continuing to move to Maui, raising the demands on all the county services," he said.

County Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares said she was happy the budget included no increases in tax rates and fees.

Tavares said she understood the need for a budget to increase personnel in some departments, especially in finance and real property areas that generate county income.

Councilman Danny Mateo described the budget as "ambitious" and said he was not about to concur with Arakawa that his proposal can be done without increases in tax rates and fees.

"That remains to be seen," Mateo said.

The proposed personnel expansion includes eight building permit and planning positions, 11 positions at the county's service center at the Maui Mall where vehicles and licenses are issued, and 20 park maintenance positions to help with weekends and holiday work.

Arakawa's proposed new hires also include eight in the Water Department, 13 in the Finance Department and 15 in the Management Department, including seven positions in the management information systems office.

Arakawa officials said property tax revenues are estimated to increase from $116 million in fiscal 2004 to nearly $130 million for 2005, and transient accommodation tax revenues are expected to increase to $17.3 million from $16 million.

The county is also getting an estimated $2 million in additional revenue from its fuel tax.

Arakawa noted that the county will have to pay an additional $3 million for county employee retirement and an estimated $7 million to $8 million in employee wages under negotiations.

The budget includes $611,500 as its share for the operation of the new helicopter air ambulance and $9.86 million for waste-water improvements in Central Maui.

The Arakawa administration said it wants $1 million toward the acquisition of Muolea Point, a 70-acre shoreline property in Hana that includes the site of King David Kalaukaua's summer home.

Under the budget, the police also would obtain a new $2 million computer-aided dispatching system that uses satellite global positioning technology to show the location of patrol cars.

County of Maui


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