Commitments to affordable housing, public safety highlighted as Mayor Blangiardi submits proposed budget for 2024 fiscal year
News Release from Office of the Mayor, March 2, 2023
HONOLULU – Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Thursday submitted to the Honolulu City Council his proposed Operating and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budgets for the 2024 fiscal year, a pair of bills that highlight the administration’s commitment to affordable housing and public safety as part of a long-term focus on investing in Oʻahu’s post-pandemic recovery while continuing to modernize City operations.
The proposed budget, which is made up of a $3.41 billion Operating budget and $1.09 billion CIP budget, also includes a request to the Honolulu City Council this year to provide historic property tax relief to 151,749 qualifying homeowners on Oʻahu in the form of a one-time $300 tax credit – amounting to roughly $45.5 million – that would be applied directly to property tax bills before they are distributed this summer.
“This budget is reflective of our sense of priority in where best to invest in the future of Oʻahu and its people,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “It has been constructed to address head on the difficult challenges that the City and County is facing, not the least of which is the high cost of living many of our friends and neighbors are experiencing. By proposing meaningful tax relief for our residents without losing sight of our commitment to responsible spending on City priorities, we believe this budget is an important step forward for our island home.”
Among the notable inclusions in the FY2024 budget:
Affordable Housing: Oʻahu, like the rest of the state, is in a housing crisis where demand grossly exceeds housing inventory at all income levels, especially at lower area median incomes (AMI). The proposed CIP budget includes $100 million for land and property acquisition for affordable housing, $6 million for affordable housing infrastructure planning in places like Halawa and Iwilei, and $8.4 million for the Affordable Housing Strategic Development Program, to be used for the renovation and/or development of low income housing units.
Homelessness: The mayor’s proposed Operating budget includes $10.2 million for the continuation of the successful Housing First initiative, $1.5 million for services related to the Hale Mauliola Housing Navigation Center at Sand Island, $1.4 million in the Home Investments Partnerships program, which provides rental subsidies that serve approximately 100 persons experiencing homelessness, and $1 million for services at the Pūnāwai Rest Stop in Iwilei. Also included is a $1 million allotment to continue the City’s Crisis Outreach Response and Engagement (CORE) program.
Public Safety: Funding for the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department, Honolulu Emergency Services Department (Ocean Safety, Emergency Medical Services) and other public safety programs make up 17.3% of the City’s proposed Operating budget, at $591 million. The proposed CIP budget also includes $7.5 for improvements of the HPD headquarters and other police station buildings and $5 million for fire station improvements across Oʻahu.
Public Transportation: Funding for the City and County of Honolulu’s mass transit programs in the proposed Operating budget amounts to $411.3 million, or about 12.06% of the budget – a figure which includes $85.1 million for the annualized operating and maintenance cost of Honolulu’s rail system, which will open to the public later this year. The proposed budget also includes $87.3 million for the acquisition of new vehicles for TheBus and TheHandi-Van and a combined $46.5 million has been set aside for road rehabilitation and road resurfacing across the island. $33.2 million has also been allocated for the planning, design, and execution of computerized systems that connect all forms of Oʻahu’s public transportation infrastructure.
Parks: Mayor Blangiardi continues to support the increased maintenance of our parks and upgrades to park facilities, with $11.9 million in CIP funds budgeted for various park improvements and $7.3 million allotted for roof repairs, parking lot repaving, refurbishing of gym floors and other miscellaneous repairs. Also included in the CIP budget is $5.5 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to complete “multi-year” park improvements across the island in eligible neighborhoods.
Overall, the largest single category of expenditures in the proposed Operating budget, at $783.4 million (23%), is the category involving City and County of Honolulu employee benefits, which includes nondiscretionary costs like retirement contributions for employees, healthcare benefits and other post-employment benefits (OPEB). Debt service comprises 19.3% of the operating budget, at $656.9 million, a figure that includes principal and interest payments of $436.2 million for general obligation bonds and $220.7 million for sewer revenue bonds.
The budget also reflects the mayor’s commitment to investing in our workforce and reducing systemic vacancies across the City. Accordingly, the proposed Operating budget includes an $81.2 million increase in salaries for FY24, as well as $28.2 million more in retirement contributions.
The proposed CIP budget is largely comprised of $506 million in wastewater and global consent decree projects, amounting to more than 51% of all proposed FY24 capital improvement expenditures. The mayor’s CIP proposal also includes $11.9 million for transportation infrastructure and charging stations for electrification of transportation; $19.8 million for a variety of drainage and erosion control projects; and $6.9 million for the modernization of Oʻahu’s traffic signal control systems.
The FY24 Operating and Capital Improvement Project budget bills will be posted at https://hnldoc.ehawaii.gov/hnldoc/ under “Bills” as soon as they have been processed by the City Clerk. The complete report and executive summary will be posted on the same site under “Communications.”
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