Cost cutting begins as city grapples with projected deficitsUPDATED 8:39 PM HST Aug 21, 2013Video Transcript
just became a budget AX... he's calling for almost across-the-board cuts to the tune of 20-million dollars. Those cuts include the police and fire departments. KITV4's Andrew Pereira is back from a budget meeting and Andrew... that belt is only gonna get tighter! Unfortunately that's true Yunji and Paula... the city is also facing a $156 million dollar gap in the next fiscal year. Bottom line... the way the city does businesses must change. Not much is safe from the mayor's budget slashing. Not police... they'll have 40 fewer recruits this fiscal year. Not fire, either ... that recruiting class is being cut in half... and training classes will be delayed from October until January. KIRK CALDWELL: "IT WAS BASED ON THE NEEDS OF EACH DEPARTMENT WITH THE DIRECTIVE THAT WE PRESERVE CORE SERVICES." Other city departments impacted by $20 million worth of cuts include Customer Services, Parks and Recreation and Environmental Services to name a few. The entire City Council was personally briefed by the mayor on Tuesday, with administration officials appearing before the Budget Committee Wednesday morning. ANN KOBAYASHI: "THINGS THAT THE PUBLIC REALLY CARES ABOUT. I THINK THE COUNCIL WOULD'VE LOOKED FOR OTHER WAYS TO MAKE CUTS." But there are no easy answers for the mayor. Fixed costs such as public worker raises and health and pension benefits keep rising. And so does the public's demand for services. Caldwell says just like the private sector, city government needs to do more with less. KIRK CALDWELL: "I THINK THE SAME THING IS GOING TO BE INCUMBENT ON GOVERNMENT, AND WE'RE LOOKING TO DO MORE OF THAT, AND WE ARE DOING MORE OF THAT." ANDREW PEREIRA: "THAT STREAMLINING HAS ALREADY BEGUN. AS PART OF THE CITY'S EFFORT TO SAVE $20 MILLION THIS FISCAL YEAR, THE SATELLITE CITY HALL AT THE KEOLU SHOPPING CENTER IN KAILUA WILL CLOSE DOWN SOMETIME IN 2013." KIRK CALDWELL: "SO, THAT'S SOMETHING VERY VISIBLE THAT PEOPLE WILL SEE, BUT WE THINK THE IMPACT WILL BE MINIMAL." The budget gap becomes a budget CANYON next summer... a projected 156-million dollars for the next fiscal year. KIRK CALDWELL: "WE'RE GOING TO WORK REALLY HARD TO MAKE SURE THAT GAP IS CLOSED ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO LOOK FOR A WAY TO DO THIS, THE MOST FAIR WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PAIN." ANN KOBAYASHI: "MAYBE WE HAVE TO REFINE THE WAY WE PICK UP TRASH. THERE ARE MANY AREAS THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT BEFORE WE RAISE PROPERTY TAX FOR RESIDENTS." The administration is working with the council on new property tax classifications and possible fee increases for the next fiscal year. But the majority of the city's revenue comes from residential property taxes. The mayor and the council say they want to hold the line on possible increases, but at this point there's no guarantee. Back to you.