LIHUE — In a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, the Kauai County Council — missing members KipuKai Kuali’i, Arthur Brun and Felicia Cowden, who were excused — held a hearing Wednesday on proposed amendments to Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.
The four-member council received no public comments, leading Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro to adjourn the hearing for the budget ordinance that will take effect on July 1.
The council then went into the Committee of the Whole meeting, where the first order of business was to receive a communication from Kaneshiro transmitting the proposed increases and deductions from the mayor’s annual operating and capital improvement projects budgets.
A final reading is set for May 29.
“Again, I’m asking that all councilmembers hold their comments until final reading,” Kaneshiro said before the resolution was unanimously adopted. “This is just to incorporate the changes that were made in our budget meeting.”
The communication revealed several cuts from the mayor’s submitted budget in March, including a $360,900 cut to charges for current general government services, $120,000 cut to charges for recreation services, a $77,112 cut to the contribution from the general fund and a $60,000 cut to the sewer fund/sanitation.
Increases from the March submitted budget include $110,000 in the miscellaneous sewer fund, $42,396 highway fund balance from the previous year and $150,000 increase from other revenues/contributions to or from Capital Improvement Projects.
Next, the committee accepted a resolution to establish the real property tax rates for the fiscal year of 2019-2020. No changes were made to the property tax rates that are charged per $1,000 of net assessed value.
The homestead tax rate will stand at $3.05, residential at $6.05, vacation and rental $9.85, hotel and resort $10.85, commercial $8.10, industrial $8.10, agricultural at $6.75, residential investor $8.05 and commercial home use remain at $5.05.
The resolution stated that the net value of taxable real property in the county for tax year 2019-2020 is $21 billion.
The total revenue from the tax rate for the fiscal year 2019-2020 is estimated to be $144 million with most of that amount coming from the vacation rental tax rate, which is estimated to produce $33.8 million for the county in the coming fiscal year.
Compared to the tax year 2018-2019 and 2017-2018, the tax rate has remained relatively unchanged, despite a $1 increase to the vacation rental tax rate and a dollar drop in the residential investor tax rate over the course of three years.
In the tax year 2017-2018, the net value of taxable property in the county was estimated to be $18.1 billion, revealing a nearly $3 billion increase in taxable property in the county over the course of three years.