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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2001

Rise in Hilo minimum property tax rates sought

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Hawai'i County Council member Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd said she plans to introduce a measure that would push the minimum property tax bill from $25 to $100.

The move would affect an estimated 60,000 lot owners in largely rural areas, particularly in Puna subdivisions inundated by lava from the Kilauea eruption that started in 1983.

It is estimated the increase in the minimum tax would result in an additional $3 million in county revenue.

Leithead-Todd, who represents Hilo, said the bill will be co-sponsored by Curtis Tyler III and Nancy Pisicchio, both of Kona.

Those in favor of raising the county's minimum tax bill say it costs more than $25 just to handle the paperwork.

The county's fiscal year 2001-02 budget does not propose any changes in property tax rates. Rates are $8.50 per $1,000 value for buildings, except for homeowners, who pay a reduced rate of $4.50 per $1,000. The rate for the land itself is $10 per $1,000 value, with a discounted rate of $8.50 per $1,000 for improved residential property.

The Big Island budget anticipates $96.5 million in revenues from property taxes, a $12 million increase from the current year thanks to a nearly 10 percent boost in property valuations.

Hearings on property tax rates were held Wednesday in Hilo and yesterday in Kailua, Kona.