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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Some to see hike in property tax rates under Honolulu mayor's new budget

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Mayor Mufi Hannemann held a news conference today to discuss the new city operating budget.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Only owners of residential properties they donít live in are to see a hike in their property tax rates, under the $1.83 billion operating budget for the coming year that was released by Mayor Mufi Hannemann today.

The plan is about 1.2 percent larger than the current yearís budget.
The spending plan sets the real property tax rate for the newly created nonhomeowner classification at $3.72 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Hannemann said he believes those who own second property are more available to absorb an increase. He said he wanted to protect owner-occupants from tax increases, and also believes hiking taxes on commercial, industrial and agricultural properties would be detrimental to the economy.
The rate is lower than the old improved residential classification rate, which was $3.75 in 2006, the mayor said.
The change for an owner of a typical single-family home in the nonhomeowner classification is expected to be 49 cents more per month, according to the proposed budget, according to data provided by the administration. A change of 25 cents more per month is expected for the owner of a typical condominium in the nonhomeowner classification.
The homeowner rate would remain at $3.42 per $1,000 of assessed value, no other classification rates would change, and no additional taxes or fees were proposed.
"The increase is driven largely by predetermined costs such as previously arbitrated pay raises for police and firefighters, negotiated pay raises for bus drivers, and other work force costs," said a news release from the mayor's office.
The budget assumes 21 to 24 day furloughs of certain city employees, and continued 5 percent pay cuts for cabinet members. Certain other employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements will also receive 5 percent pay cuts.
The plan includes $14 million for specialized public-safety requirements of hosting the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference. The city is hoping to receive federal reimbursement for all or a portion of these costs.
Of the separate;y proposed $2.1 billion capital improvement project budget, $1.3 billion is for the cityís $5.5 billion mass transit project. That would be in addition to the $1 billion already authorized for this year.
It also designates $493 million for sanitation upgrades and $124 million for street repairs.
Hannemann is proposing a new Nanakuli regional Park and using part of the recently closed Wailupe Elementary School in East Honolulu for a senior center.