Mayor Baptiste approves new county budgets

Mayor Bryan Baptiste has signed into law a $98-million-dollar budget for the County of Kauai and a $19-million-dollar capital improvement budget.

Both are for the county’s fiscal year 2003-2004 that begins on July 1.

In approving the budgets on May 28 Baptiste stressed the importance of funding key positions and programs to continue to improve public service and the quality of life for residents.

In past administrations, some budget signings have gone down to the wire. This year, the signing comes over a month before deadline.

Highlights of the budget approved by Baptiste and the Kauai County Council are funding a drug coordinator and a county grant writer, plus a boost in funding for captioning of televised government meetings to benefit hearing-impaired residents.

The budget also calls for an upgrade to the county’s plan for solid waste disposal.

The budgets approved by Baptiste were identical to budgets the council approved on May 27, along with unchanged property tax rates.

Baptiste said the budgets included “integral components” that are part of his “vision for the betterment of the county.”

They include:

  • Hiring a drug coordinator to take the lead in connecting various agencies and organizations to control or halt the spread of drug use on Kauai.
  • Hiring three additional personnel for the information systems division of the Kauai County Department of Finance to improve efficiency and to save money.
  • Budgeting $119,00 for captioning government-sponsored meetings to ensure better public access.
  • Moving the recreation division from the county Public Works Department to the county Offices of Community Assistance, allowing for more effective delivery of services.
  • Hiring of a grant writer to pursue government grants, thus freeing county funds for other programs and improvements.
  • Putting a rubberized track at Vidinha Stadium, pending the release of matching funds by Gov. Linda Lingle.
  • Installing new recreational and playground equipment at Ele’ele Nani and in Kekaha, Nawiliwili, Kapahi and Anahola Village to benefit families and youths.

Baptiste said he believed the funded improvements will provide for “outstanding service” to county residents.

“It is my personal goal to provide leadership for the employees of the county of Kauai and the community by creating a vision, establishing the direction of inspiring people to engage themselves as active members in their workplaces and communities,” Baptiste said in a prepared statement.

Baptiste said his administration has begun discussion on determining an “even more efficient and effective methodology for structuring and developing the budget for fiscal year 2005.”

Baptiste thanked administrative assistant Gary Heu, county finance director Mike Tresler, and other members of the finance department including Alvin Honda for help in developing the current budgets.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net

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