“This is not a budget of fluff and extravagance but one of necessity,” Mayor Arakawa announced as he presented his plan for the 2012 fiscal year to the County Council last week. Arakawa said he got the draft budget to the Council a week early in an effort to “help them in their decision-making process.”
The budget projects $632 million in total County funds, with $475.3 million going to operations and another $156.7 to capital improvements. Reflecting the Mayor’s stated priorities, the largest chunk of money — $43.9 million — is allocated for water sourcing, development and transmission. That’s nearly double the amount in the 2011 budget. Another $22.7 million is set aside for wastewater projects, including new sewer lines, reclamation facilities and pump stations.
Other significant investments include $19.9 million for road work, $16.2 million to replace the countywide public safety radio system and $3.9 million for park maintenance and upgrades. As required by the County Charter, the budget places 1 percent of real property tax revenue ($2.15 million) into the open space and cultural preservation fund and 2 percent ($4.3 million) into the affordable housing fund.
“In adjusting to the declining economy, the previous year’s budget reduced the County’s operating expenditures by postponing purchases, delaying the filling of vacancies, instituting worker furloughs and restricting expenditures,” Arakawa wrote in his official budget message. “Unfortunately, the effects of these efforts have had a
substantial negative impact on the County. The [2012 budget] aims to restore some of the most significantly affected areas and eliminate the furloughs.”
A copy of the draft budget is available on the County Web site, mauicounty.gov.