Mayor OKs fee
increases, city budget

Hannemann vetoes funding
for a YMCA partner project

Mayor Mufi Hannemann had a bunch of firsts yesterday:

» He signed his first budget into law.
» He used his veto powers for the first time.
» And he might also be facing his first veto override.

City & County of Honolulu Hannemann signed the city's $1.36 billion operating budget and the $478 million capital improvement budget.

He also signed bills that would raise sewer fees, vehicle weight taxes, rental charges at the Blaisdell Center and Waikiki Shell, and other fees to generate additional revenue for the city.

"In life, when you do things for the first time, it's always a treasured moment. And in this particular case, we consider it a tremendous result that were able to achieve a budget, that it reflected an administration philosophy that was as much about substance as style," Hannemann said.

But Hannemann also announced during yesterday's bill-signing ceremony that he removed $1.5 million in bond financing, using his veto power for the first time.

The funding would have gone toward a $6 million project as part of a partnership with the YMCA to construct a swimming pool, locker rooms and community meeting space in the Waianae area.

Hannemann said $500,000 in federal community block grant funds remain in the budget for the project.

He said it is a project that he supports. But the bond money cannot be used legally to help fund the building, which will belong to private groups such as the YMCA.

"In the meantime we're going to work with the City Council to find another creative way to come up with the financing for this," Hannemann said.

Larry Bush, president and chief executive of the YMCA of Honolulu, said he was saddened to hear about the veto but that he knows the mayor and the Council support the project.

He said the YMCA will move forward with plans for construction using the $500,000 in block grants and funding the organization has received from the state and private donations. He looks forward to working with the city to obtain financing.

City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said he would consider overriding the mayor's line-item veto if the Council could find a way around the funding restrictions before the Council's override deadline.

City & County of Honolulu

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