VIDEO: Mayor Suggests Ways to Use $109 M in Carryover Savings
By Wendy Osher
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXr6SmFToZ0 /]
During his budget presentation last week, Mayor Arakawa told council members that the biggest item that they would find in the budget would be a huge carryover savings estimated at near $109 million. Today, he sat down with us and explained how he hoped the money would be used.
Calling the item an “anomaly,” Mayor Arakawa explained that the phenomenon was a one-time only occurrence, and should not be considered extra “fluff” funds.
“This year we happen to have a carryover savings that was not recognized last year, so we actually have a double-carryover savings that we’re recognizing this year,” said Mayor Arakawa.
“I don’t want anybody to think that we’ve got a lot of money–we don’t.” The reality is that this year, our income is over a million dollars less than it was last year; and our expenses are continuing to climb.
He explained how the funds came about, saying that the county is required by the bond councils to have contingency for carryover in the next year.
“We don’t budget to the penny because we know next year we have to have somewhere around $30 million plus or minus in carryover to have a reasonable budget,” said Mayor Arakawa during his budget presentation.
He described the funds as “a safety valve” in case something major happens, so that the county is able to make adjustments accordingly.
During an exclusive interview today, Mayor Arakawa said he hoped the funds could be used for ongoing issues facing the county. “I want to give the council the opportunity to look at catching up on some of road repairs, catching up on a lot of the infrastructure needs, perhaps acquiring more water resources for the county–things that the county really needs,” he said.
“This is not an extravagance,” said Mayor Arakawa. “We’re going to have to repair the roads at some point. We’re going to have to acquire the water resources at some point. When we have the funds–let’s do it; or, they can not do it, and at some other point we’re going to have to still repair the roads, find water sources. Take it now, or take it later–that’s the options we have,” he said.