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Saturday, March 24, 2018
Maui Tax and Spend: Massive Property Tax Hikes to Cover $114M in New Spending
By News Release @ 3:20 PM :: 5486 Views :: Maui County, Taxes

Mayor Arakawa Proposes Fiscal Year 2019 Budget to Maui County Council Members

News Release from Office of the Mayor, March 23, 2018

Wailuku, Maui - Mayor Alan Arakawa handed over what he called his "most aggressive budget proposal to date" to the Maui County Council today. The budget consists of $820 million in revenues to pay for an operating budget of $605 million and a capital program budget of $214.9 million. Add in $62.6 million in grant revenues and $12.5 million in federal highway funds and the grand total for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget for Maui County is $882.6 million.

"There are two words that come to mind when looking at this, our 12th budget proposal for the community. Those words are: Planning and Investment," Mayor Arakawa said. "Without planning, we could not get the best return on the community’s investment. Without investment, there is no mechanism to bring these plans into fruition.

To be an effective government, we need to do both."

Some of the major projects include:

-$81.2 million for the construction of the Wailuku Civic Hub, which has undergone community planning for more than a decade. The hub will be the cornerstone of the redevelopment and revitalization of Wailuku Town for generations to come.

-$35.4 million for road resurfacing and improvements, including the much-anticipated roundabout at Kamehameha Avenue and Maui Lani Parkway, which will improve traffic and make the area safer for students and other pedestrians.

-An additional $23.5 million for wastewater improvements and expansion to supplement the $94 million we have already invested, which will help the county transition from using injection wells to using our recycled water for irrigation. It’s a lot of work and the cost will be around $117.5 million but it needs to be done.

-$20.1 million for new parks facilities and improvements, including a new starter booth and restaurant facility at the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course.

Operationally, the departments intend to improve services with the following changes:

-$9 million for Housing & Human Concerns to acquire property to expand homeless shelters and affordable housing countywide. The Department will also reestablish the first-time homebuyer’s assistance program.

-Depositing $6.5 million to the Emergency Fund. This includes monies that were spent for work during the Iao flood and that were budgeted to cut down dead Eucalyptus trees along Piiholo Road.

-$2.7 million for Fire & Public Safety to replace water rescue craft for Ocean Safety, as well as pumper trucks for Napili and Wailuku stations. The cost also covers pay for four Ocean Safety officers and their equipment to operate a lifeguard station at Black Rock in Kaanapali. Resorts are donating land and the lifeguard tower to help do their part. While this is not a county beach park, this is the area where the most drownings on our island are taking place, and this public-private partnership will help educate and protect beachgoers, as well as save many lives.

-$1.2 million for Planning’s Maui Island Plan implementation report; for community plan updates and studies; shoreline, beach management and restoration studies; and to overhaul the Title 19 Zoning Code. Some of our planning projects – like developing our ag parks – can take years. Others, like reforestation or creating a new, deep water harbor, may take generations.

-$745,000 for the Transportation Department to buy replacement Maui Buses and MEO shuttles. This includes a $300,000 grant to MEO for a new maintenance facility. A pilot Waihee bus route will also begin this year.

-$367,000 for the Maui Police Department to increase the number of patrol officers in the central district -- which encompasses Wailuku, Kahului, all the way out to Haiku and up to Ulupalakua. The department also needs $220,000 for police body cameras, data storage and maintenance.

To help pay for these projects, the administration is proposing a progressive, tiered, new tax structure.

There will be one rate for properties valued at less than $500,000; another rate for property values between $500,000 and $1.5 million; and a third rate for properties worth more than $1.5 million.

In addition, this will be the first budget implementing the council’s amendments to separate short-term rental units from hotels and resorts tax classifications.  

Please note these changes will not affect homeowners and will allow rates to be adjusted to generate the revenue required to maintain county services and infrastructure.

If this tiered rate structure is approved by council, we will have no reason to increase property taxes this year, and rates will remain the same for a majority of the property owners, despite the fact that values have increased.

To review the FY 2019 budget proposal documents click on this link.


MN: Tiered property tax rates proposed

The proposed tiered system would affect four property tax categories: residential, apartment, agricultural and conservation. It would ease the tax burden for owners’ first $500,000 of assessed value, keep it the same for $500,000 to $1.5 million and increase it by 50 percent for those portions of values that rise above $1.5 million.

The homeowner category would remain unchanged at $2.86 per $1,000 for the entire amount of assessed value, after the homeowner exemption. Tax rates in other categories would stay the same as well. Real property valuations are up, reflecting rising single-family home and condominium sales prices.

Tiered rate details include:

• Residential. Now at $5.54 per $1,000 assessed value, the tax rate would drop 25 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $5.29 per $1,000 for the first $500,000 of residential value; it would remain unchanged for the portion of homes’ value between $500,000 and $1.5 million; and rise $2.77, or 50 percent, to $8.31 per $1,000 for amounts more than $1.5 million.

• Apartment. Now at $6.32 per $1,000, the tax rate would fall 42 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $5.90 per $1,000 for the first $500,000 of value for apartments; it would stay the same for the next $500,000 and $1.5 million; and go up $3.16, or 50 percent, to $9.48 for amounts of more than $1.5 million.

• Agricultural. Now at $6.01 per $1,000, the tax rate would decline 56 cents, or 9.3 percent, to $5.45 per $1,000 for the first $500,000 of agricultural properties’ assessed value; it would not change for amounts between $500,000 and $1.5 million; and increase $3.01, or 50.1 percent, to $9.02 for amounts more than $1.5 million.

• Conservation. Now at $6.37 per $1,000, the tax rate would drop $3.87, or 60.8 percent, to $2.50 per $1,000 for the first $500,000 in property value; it would keep the status quo for properties’ value from $500,000 and $1.5 million; and rise $3.19, or 50.1 percent, to $9.56 per $1,000 for amounts in excess of $1.5 million.

MN: Tax and Fee Hikes

Proposed changes to rates and fees:

• Increasing the monthly fee for residential refuse collection from $27 to $32 per month.

• Hiking the landfill commercial tipping fee from $90 to $97 per ton.

• A 3 percent increase to sewer fees. (Now, the maximum sewer fee for residents is $66.26 per month. With the increase, it will be $68.48.)

• Increasing the annual motor vehicle registration fee from $17.50 to $20.

MN: Spending would increase by $114.8 million, or 16.3%, over current period

MN: Budget district meetings announced



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