Oops

LIHU‘E — It took several hours Thursday night for county officials to address a multi-million dollar discrepancy spotted in the mayor’s official message to the Kaua‘i County Council, outlining his proposed operational budget for Fiscal Year 2013.

At the end of the business day on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. — an hour behind schedule — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. released his proposed operational budget for FY13, along with a message outlining the budget to the council, the body that will scrutinize and eventually approve the budget.

But something just wasn’t right, something in the vicinity of $11.1 million.

Carvalho’s message mentioned a $172.3 million operational budget, while in the actual ordinance the available revenue for the budget was $161.2 million. And operational expenses must match the county’s revenues.

County officials saw the mistake sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., and went back to work to figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t until past midnight that the administration officially sent a second message from Carvalho to the council, this time with an operational budget of $161.2 million.

In his second message, Carvalho explained “the county’s actual proposed FY13 operating budget” total $172.71 million, after including the debt service and contributions to the Open Space Fund.

The county’s explanation for the error in the first message was the inclusion of the debt service and the Open Space Fund contributions. It just took them more than six hours to explain it. And a discrepancy of more than $400,000 from the first message was not addressed.

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