Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oahu taxes going up, Hawaii bureaucracy bloats, bond rating falls, don't feed the homeless, Hawaii council kills bus fares, Maui Memorial pays $1.2 million renting empty building, Ka'u land eyed for development, more news from all the islands

Honolulu homeless (c) 2011 All Hawaii News


Governor Abercrombie unveiled a 90-day plan to tackle the homeless problem, and it includes discouraging feeding people in parks or other public places. KHON2.

The Abercrombie administration gave itself 90 days yesterday to achieve a marked improvement in clearing homeless people from streets, beaches and parks in Waikiki and the rest of Honolulu's urban core. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Neil Abercrombie established citizen call-in numbers to identify, locate and provide assistance to homeless people in need last month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Only two of Hawaii's 20 state departments will have smaller operating budgets come July 1. The rest are growing — one by as much as 94 percent. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s “strained” state financial operations, the depletion of reserves in fiscal year 2011, and covering budget shortfalls with one time solutions – these are the factors that Moody’s Investors Services used when downgrading Hawaii’s General Obligation Bond Rating for an estimated $5.1 billion in debt. Hawaii Reporter.

The cost of living for Oahu residents is likely to increase dramatically after the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee approved a property tax hike as well as a bevy of user fee increases. KHON2.

A Honolulu City Council committee on Tuesday approved for final vote of a residential tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of value. KITV4.

Looking to make a high priority of fixing Oahu's crumbling roads, the City Council Budget Committee restored $32 million to the mayor's construction project budget for roads yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

A deadlocked County Council on Tuesday put the brakes on a planned $1 bus fare, one of the moneymakers in Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed budget. West Hawaii Today.

For more than two years, Maui Memorial Medical Center has been paying $600,000 per year to rent a 20,000-square-foot empty building next to the Kaiser Maui Lani Clinic on Maui Lani Parkway. Maui News.

The Hawaii County Band, open space land fund, golf programs, legislative auditor and various county operations are in the crosshairs of County Council members, who are scheduled to vote today on more than $12 million in cuts to the annual budget submitted by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Peter Carlisle would veto budget proposals for the planned rail transit authority that give the City Council final say on any spending decisions by the semiautonomous board, the administration said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Citing a possible conflict of interest, Kaua‘i County Councilman Dickie Chang has recused himself from voting on funds for the next two editions of the Kaua‘i Marathon. Garden Island.

Unity House Inc. received approval Tuesday from a Hawaii bankruptcy court judge to sell its Lotus at Diamond Head Hotel to Nobuka USA Inc. for $18.5 million. Pacific Business News.

The developer of a proposed 12,000-unit housing project in West Oahu will try again to win approval to move ahead with its plan. KITV4.

Tension resulting from local politics allegedly resulted in physical violence yesterday between an opponent and supporter of the Envision Laie development. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County has moved a step closer toward buying 27 acres of pristine Puna coastline. Tribune-Herald.

Kahuku land that was the center of an eight-year battle before the Land Use Commission as the proposed Hawaiian Riviera Resort is again being moved forward for development. West Hawaii Today.

The state this week expects to announce a partnership with federal agencies to help landowners and managers protect forest lands. Associated Press.

A record number of 15 students graduated from the University of Hawaii's law school with a Native Hawaiian Law Certificate this week. Associated Press.

Several weeks after the deal was made for UH Maui College-Molokai to purchase neighboring land from Molokai Properties Ltd., Governor Neil Abercrombie has released the funds to complete the acquisition. Molokai Dispatch.

Two people died when an light sport aircraft crashed off the North Shore of Kauai at about 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Hawaii News Now.