Maui Budget Passes Unanimously on Final Reading
By Wendy Osher
The Maui County Council unanimously passed the FY 2014 budget on second and final reading today.
The CIP and Operation Budget, were passed with 7 members in favor and two excused.
The newly passed budget goes into effect on July 1, 2013, and ends on June 30, 2014.
The council’s version of the budget is $559 million—that’s $14 million less than what was proposed by the mayor, according to an earlier council announcement.
The budget was passed after an amendment was made relating to charges for current services and public transit fares for individuals with disabilities. The word change from “all” to “fixed” was proposed to avoid confusion and unintended fiscal impacts.
“This amendment aims to minimize any confusion in providing lower bus rates to our disabled residents who would like to utilize our fixed bus routes,” said Council Member Mike White, who also chaired the budget committee.
Budget Chair White thanked fellow members for their work during the budget saying, “We had some very spirited discussions. I think we’ve come out with a responsible budget that the people of Maui County can feel comfortable that we’re watching out for them and taking care of the many needs that are before us, and doing so in as responsible way as we can.”
Council Chair Gladys Baisa who was on vacation during the first reading of the budget, thanked fellow members, Budget Chair White, and the staff and public who participated in crafting the FY 2014 budget.
Chair Baisa called the budget process “arduous,” saying, “It is probably the most important thing that the council is charged with and does every year.”
During testimony at today’s meeting Chair Baisa said, “Of course it’s a give and take; it’s a work of compromise. Not everybody gets what they want–you just can’t do that because there’s too many needs.”
“To everybody, their road, their community center, their youth program–is the most important piece of that budget, and they want it. If they get it they’re happy; and if they don’t get it, they’re not happy. That’s the price we pay as we sit in these chairs, that we suffer this angst in trying to do the best that we can and make everybody as happy as we can,” said Chair Baisa at today’s meeting.
She continued, vowing to continue work as the budget is implemented saying, “I promise you that we’re going to watch it very carefully as we go forward, and we’re going to try to make the very best use of our taxpayer dollars for the people of Maui County.”