Thursday, January 11, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 11, 2001

Mayor asks $91 million more for construction

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

City Council members yesterday questioned administration officials about why Mayor Jeremy Harris wants to add about $91 million to the city’s $299 million construction budget.

The mayor’s supplemental budget request covers a number of construction projects that City Council member Duke Bainum said were worthwhile. But Bainum said it was puzzling that none of the expenses were considered earlier or that they can’t wait a little longer.

Supplemental budget requests should address emergency or unanticipated situations, Bainum said.

Newly appointed city budget and fiscal services director Carroll Takahashi fielded questions about the laundry list of projects at a Council Committee meeting yesterday.

Takahashi said the city needs $10.7 million added to the budget to resurface roads across the island, but had to explain why the work wasn’t a priority in the earlier budget.

"We felt that the additional road repair would compound the problem of traffic congestion," Takahashi said. "However, we did not anticipate the number of complaints we received from the public to repair the roads."

Councilman Andy Mirikitani asked how many of the requests covered cost overruns on city projects in a budget that he said was kept artificially low before Harris’ re-election campaign.

"I just don’t see how the administration could not know about this major problem," Mirikitani said.

In particular, council members also questioned:

$7.2 million to purchase various equipment, including improved police communication equipment that is being requested immediately so it will be available for the state-sponsored Asian Development Bank meeting in May.

Bainum said he’s concerned because "we are spending money that was designated for some other items because someone at the state took it on themselves to commit us to a certain convention."

$8.2 million in improvements and additions to the recently opened Central Oahu Regional Park; and another $2.1 million worth of work on the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park. Those park changes include more fields, parking and comfort stations.

$750,000 to plan, design and build a "cancer survivors park" in Ala Moana Park. The money would be reimbursed by the R.A. Bloch Foundation, but the community has yet to respond to the proposal.

Members of the budget committee approved the request so it can go to the second of three required readings and to a public hearing.

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