Kauai budget plan scrutinized
By Leo Azambujao
NĀWILIWILI, Kaua'i — Kaua'i County Council members have been busy since April 9 reviewing Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s proposed $146.29 million operating budget for fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1.
All departments have been asked for at least a 7 percent reduction in operational costs to adjust to the economic downturn. The proposed budget also asks for furloughs affecting nearly all departments.
Police officers and firefighters may not be subject to furloughs. But furloughs for other personnel in the police and fire departments and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney may affect police and firefighting operations.
Many council members questioned department heads about their ability to get the job done timely in spite of personnel shortages.
Council Chairman Kaipo Asing told Carvalho he wasn't convinced the furloughs would end up saving the county some money.
Office of Economic Development director George Costa said the department won't receive a $500,000 visitor stimulus grant.
"If it weren't for the visitor stimulus program we would be in a lot worse shape than we are right now," said Costa, noting that the grant received last year was helpful in promoting tourism.
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority eliminated a $50,000 grant that provided daily airport greetings by a performance duo.
A Consumer Promotion Grant of $75,000, down from last year's $145,000, will continue to support the Kaua'i Visitors Bureau, helping promote local events.
The OED will continue to support the YWCA Family Violence Shelter with $25,615, and the Sexual Assault Treatment Center with $37,856.
The Food Bank will receive $5,000 from OED.