Mayor’s request: $229,964,627 for 2020

LIHUE — Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami submitted his requested budget for the fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020) to the county council on March 15. The council has held departmental budget reviews from March 28 through April 15 and will hold deliberation and preliminary decision-making on the mayor’s proposed budget during three meetings open to the public on May 10, 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Public testimony will be taken at each of the three meetings.

The mayor’s requested budget asks for a total of $229,964,627 million for operating funds. Of that nearly quarter billion dollar requested operating budget, $140.1 million will make up the general fund if the mayor’s requested budget is accepted as is by the council.

The requested operating budget is comprised of 14 different funds, ranging from the highway fund, sewer fund, solid waste fund, general excise tax fund, housing, and community development fund, and criminal asset fund.

Of that operating fund, $24.1 million is included for the general excise tax fund, $22.2 million for the solid waste fund, $19.2 million for the highway fund and $11.7 for the sewer fund. The next highest requested amount is $4.4 million for the housing revolving fund, followed by $2.5 million for the golf fund.

Projected revenues

According to the mayor’s requested budget proposal, available online on the county’s website, “the fiscal year 2020 budget reflects total revenues of $233.75 million or 9.5 percent over fiscal year 2019.

“A large contributor to this year’s operating budget is the additional $11.85 million in anticipated general excise tax revenues, previously authorized by the Kauai County Council,” the budget says. “General excise tax funding will be utilized to expand our bus services and repair our roads.”

Compared to fiscal year 2019, if approved, the mayor’s requested 2020 budget has a 10.7 percent increase over the previous year. Two contributing factors for the over 10 percent increase are primarily due to salaries and related expenses, and the general excise tax fund, according to the mayor’s request.

“Salaries, benefits, and collective bargaining expenses make up 60.1 percent of the total budget and increases continue to challenge the county’s finances. While the bulk of our expenses are not within our full control due to the collective bargaining agreement, other post-employment benefits, and contribution increases to the Employee Retirement System, we remain committed in adhering to our obligations as bargained,” the requested budget reads in the explanation for increase in county expenditures. “General excise tax surcharge expenditures of roughly $24.35 million allows the county to fund $18 million to Public Works for roads and bridge repair. The remainder of the surcharge, approximately $6.12 million, will cover Transportation operational cost that was previously part of the General Fund.”

Projected expenses

The projected county expenses within the mayor’s requested budget for the fiscal year 2020 total $242 million. That number is up from $218.7 from fiscal year 2019, or an increase of $23.4 million, a 10.7 percent increase. But most of that increase, $24 million, is attributed to anticipated revenues from the half percent general excise tax increase authorized by the County Council that took effect Jan. 1. Those funds are earmarked for bus service, repairing potholes, and fixings roads.

Of that total, $145.4 million is being requested for “salaries and related,” a $9 million increase from 2019.

The proposed salary increase currently before the county council would not take effect if passed would take effect for Kawakami and other county employees immediately, which would force the council to reopen the budget once it is passed.

The next highest requested figure for the county’s 2020 expenses in the requested budget is $78.5 million for operations, $11.3 million for debt services, $6 million for utilities and $719,375 for open spaces. Of those four figures, the highest increase over 2019 is in the operation, which would have an increase of $14.4 million, or 22.4 percent over fiscal year 2019.

Capital Improvement Program

The mayor has requested $36.1 million for the capital improvement program, a $4.5 million decrease from last year’s approved appropriation.

Of that requested amount for the capital improvement program, the highest requested amount is $23.3 for the bond fund, followed by $8.4 million for the CIP general fund, $3.2 for the highway fund and $631,809 for the special trust fund for parks and playgrounds.

Kawakami concludes his requested budget for 2020 by stating, “We look forward to the open and respectful dialogue together.”

  1. RG DeSoto April 22, 2019 7:19 am Reply

    All this and he wants you to clean county park bathrooms too! Such a deal…get taxed to the hilt then be asked to do the actual work you’re being taxed for.
    Only a politician could come up with that nonsense,
    RG DeSoto

  2. george rowland April 22, 2019 8:02 am Reply

    The first question is why are we proposing repairs to the hwys? we don’t own them, they are the responsibility of the State ……

  3. JEFFREY KIMOTO April 22, 2019 8:06 am Reply

    Why not just write $230 or $229 million??? The rest of the figures are irrelevant.

  4. HideTheFacts April 22, 2019 11:02 am Reply

    Hide the facts that majority of the budget goes to salaries. The 11% increase matches the 10-15% increase the county is asking to increase some county employees salaries. How did they hide it smarter than the previous administration? Through increasing GET tax. The county leeches want to take more of the people money so a certain few can spend it any kine way they like. What have done to improve the quality of life for the people? And yet they say to retain and attract talent, they need to increase the salaries but the same ol Guard dogs and their families and friends are occupying and still lame donkeys in their overpaid positions. The county of Kauai and the state of Hawaii should create initiatives to tax areas that generate profits from the tourism industry instead of milking its citizens for example recreational marijuana use. Medical marijuana businesses was a scheme by the state to help their people monopolize the industry. It has proven track record of generating 100’s of millions of dollars to 1 billion in 10 years for some states. Too many of these politicians are intertwined with lining their own pockets as well as taking care of their friends and families that they can’t do anything good for all the people. It’s really a racket when they act. You have to know who and how they are getting the pork from legislation to understand the Wild Wild West politics. Kawakami is sneaky like Darryl/Arryl The Chiba’s, The Carvalho’s, The Rapozo’s, the firefighter gas theft ring, the police Dept overtime fleecing, Chang beer gate, Kusaka Kealia property scandal, The Big Save Big Box store scheme by Yukimura, the Kaumuali’i highway scheme, bus stop 80K overpriced scheme, the Faux furlough scheme with the county of Kauai having a 50-60 million dollar surplus, the theft by county employees proven 3-4 through audits and so on. Hurry up and hide the facts before someone finds out.

  5. David Gardener April 22, 2019 1:03 pm Reply

    $2.5 Million for the Golf Fund?

    Excuse me, what the heck is the Golf Fund and why should Kauai citizens contribute to it?

    Surely there are more actual need issues, like affordable housing for instance, that could use additional funding.

    I have nothing against golfers but shouldn’t golf courses operate as any other kind of business and float their own boats?

  6. Erzincanli January 31, 2021 2:35 pm Reply

    I live in Ann Arbor Michigan a city of 140,000 ( twice Kauai’s population) the city budget is $248M. It is one of the best places to live in America but it is cold and the roads get destroyed by frost every winter and cost a lot to repair continuously but the city services are first class. The water and sewer costs are 10% of what it is in Kauai, trash pick up is free, you get building permits etc. approved or returned back with comments within the month at the latest. Essentially Kauai county is spending twice as much money per resident to provide a much poorer service.

  7. Erzincanli January 31, 2021 3:17 pm Reply

    One more piece of information to compare between Ann Arbor Michigan ( population 140,000) Budget 248 M with Kauai County ( population 71000) budget 230 M.

    Ann Arbor has only 743 city employees in comparison Kauai County has 1100 employees So clearly Kauai county employees are more than twice less efficient!!!

    I guess this is what happens when politicians are elected simply because they are approved by the unions and belong to one partyl

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