Maui News

Homelessness, Salary Increases Surface in Committee

June 24, 2016, 1:48 PM HST
* Updated June 24, 1:54 PM
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Shopping carts used by homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Shopping carts used by homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Budget and Finance Committee will discuss administration proposals for programs to address homelessness and salary increases during an upcoming meeting on at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

Committee Chair Riki Hokama noted the council has appropriated more than $1 million for homeless programs in the budget for fiscal year 2017, which starts next Friday. In the budget, the council also funded two homeless specialist positions and provided $4 million for social service agencies whose programs benefit the homeless population.

Another item on the agenda is administration-submitted legislation to increase the salaries of county employees in bargaining unit 3.

“I look forward to hearing the justification of the proposed salary increases, which should have taken place during contract negotiations,” Hokama said in a press release. “More important, the committee will consider how the administration will fund these programs.”

Hokama said that the mayor “effectively withdrew the funding requests for the homeless programs and salary adjustments by decertifying the applicable funds.” Hokama’s news release states that the money was instead used for salaries, premium pay and operations of the Department of Fire and Public Safety.

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County Communications Director Rod Antone responded to the announcement saying, the Mayor told the council to use the homeless funds to make up shortfalls in other departments since it was too late to include a budget amendment for fiscal year 2016.

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“Thanks to the Governor Ige extending the emergency proclamation a fifth time we can now send a budget amendment for FY 2017, but the mayor warns that Councilman Hokama shouldn’t wait too long this time, because there is no guarantee that the governor will extend the proclamation again for a sixth time,” said Antone.

Tuesday’s meeting is in the Council Chamber. Testimony may be submitted [email protected], referencing BF-38(26) for the homeless programs budget amendment and BF-38(32) for the BU-03 salary increases.

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