Council to take up property tax, smoking issues

The Kaua’i County Council has been asked by council chair Ron Kouchi to consider a bill to freeze assessments at 2002 levels for single-family residential, homestead and agricultural classes to help residents keep property tax bills in check.

The council is expected to take up the matter, in a form of a letter from Kouchi to the council, at a 1 p.m. meeting at the historic County Building at 1 p.m. Thursday.

In light of a “recent trend of major assessment increases” for the three tax rate classes and “numerous testimonies received, this bill will provide much-needed future relief for our residents,” Kouchi wrote in the letter.

Kouchi noted the current property tax revenues for the classes amount to $21 million, which will be carried over in the future tax year. The single-family residential class is anticipated to generate $9.22 million, the homestead, $5.39 million and agriculture, $6.45 million.

The council also is expected to take action a bill that would prohibit smoking in the restaurants and public spaces to protect the safety of employees.

Residents and anti-smoking groups have commended councilman James Tokioka for proposing the bill, but want it amended so that smoking is banned in all restaurants regardless of size.

Tokioka, a restaurant owner, goes along with the sentiment of those favoring such a ban, but is proposing an exemption for a handful of small, Kaua’i restaurants that employ family members.

Kouchi and councilman Randal Valenciano have said they would propose for full council action an amendment that would allow for a total ban to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

At past meetings, anti-smoking groups, individuals and a state health official said continuous exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to respiratory problems, including lung cancer.

Representatives for the American Cancer Society, the Tobacco-Free Coalition, Tobacco-Free Kauai, Smoke Free Hawaii Coalition and the state Department of Health voiced support for a total smoking ban.

At a recent council meeting, Kouchi said that if the full council adopts a bill that includes the ban, amendments can be proposed in the future.

The legislation would not affect enclosed bars in restaurants.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.