Proposed budget is $204 million

LIHUE — The budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 will be the order of the day when the Kauai County Council meets next week.

On Wednesday, councilmembers expected to discuss the proposed $204 million operating budget, and the $14.3 million Capital Improvement Project budget.

Bill No. 2645 is the piece of legislation for FY 2017-2018’s operating budget. The bulk of the general fund — 83 percent — contains salaries and benefits.

Bill No. 2646 is the CIP budget for the next fiscal year. It contains improvements to Kapahi Bridge, the old Hanalei Courthouse, Lihue Baseball stadium, Kamalani Playground and Pu’uopae Bridge.

This is the first time the councilmembers will discuss the bills at full council, and both bills are up for first reading.

The council will also start conversations regarding two resolutions Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. submitted as part of the budget proposal.

One of the resolutions seeks to establish a reserve fund to cushion the county in the event of disruption, like a natural disaster or downturns in the economy.

Resolution No. 2017-28 is proposing that 30 percent of the previous year’s revenues will be deposited into the reserve fund.

The funds generated from the reserve fund will be broken down into three categories: revenue volatility, extreme events and expenditure volatility.

County officials also want the Garden Isle to be prepared for natural disasters, so 10 percent of the revenues in the reserve fund will be dedicated to emergency response and unexpected infrastructure repair, the resolution says.

It will take a majority vote of the council to initiate the use of the reserve fund. And, if used, it the council and administration will then propose and approve a financial plan to replenish the reserve fund in three years.

Another resolution submitted by the mayor’s office seeks a stricter definition of a balanced budget. The administration is proposing using the term, and striving for, a “structurally sound” budget.

“A budget that is merely ‘balanced’ may not necessarily be sustainable, because on-going expenditures could be supported by temporary or highly volatile revenues, including one-time resources,” the resolution reads.

A structurally balanced budget means that recurring expenditures, which are items found in the budget every year, like salaries, should be covered by recurring revenues, which are revenues that are expected to continue every year.

Further, non-reoccurring revenues, should only be used to fund non-recurring expenditures, like capital improvements, the resolution says.

Also on Wednesday, the council is expected to approve a grant of pedestrian access and parking easements in Weliweli, Koloa.

The request was filed by CIRI Land Development, which is building 10 houses on land fronting the beach, near Pee Road. But, because residents illegally use the dirt trail to access the shoreline, the company wants to make sure they have a legal means to get to the water.

The council will also discuss a resolution introduced by Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura that urges the United States Postal Service to keep the Rice Street location.

In January, USPS said it wanted to close operations on Rice Street and consolidate operations with the USPS Carrier Annex facility on Kapule Highway, citing parking and access concerns.

But some residents, including Yukimura, want to keep the post office where it is, arguing it doesn’t make sense to move the operation while the county trying to revilatiize Rice Street.

The resolution was deferred at the March 9 council meeting.

The Kauai County Council meetings are at the Historic County Building. They begin at 8:30 a.m.

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