Final budget battle focuses on earmarks for nonprofitsUPDATED 7:38 PM HST Jun 05, 2013Video Transcript
Hour-long 6 o- clock newscast. Today's final budget battle attracted dozens of people hoping to secure taxpayer funds for worthy causes. But Mayor Kirk Caldwell says some members of the City Council are not following a vetting process approved by voters. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has our top story at 6. One by one, representatives and beneficiaries from nonprofit groups told council members about the need for additional money. LAUPO KIVAHA: "I HAVE THREE OTHER BROTHERS WHOSE LOCKED UP FOR A VERY LONG TIME, AND MAYBE IF THEY HAD THE HELP FROM AFY LIKE ME, THINGS WOULD'VE BEEN DIFFERENT." VICKY HOLT TAKEMINE: "WE DO A JOB THAT THE CITY CANNOT DO. YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING THAT OUR NONPROFITS DO." The most emotional appeal came from Michelle Shellko, who struggles with dyslexia. MICHELLE SHELLKO: "I'VE BEEN TREATED DIFFERENTLY. AND TEACHERS AT MY SCHOOL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT I HAVE." Council members were split over providing $8.3 million more in grants-in-aid. Councilman Breene Harimoto wanted to cut the additional funds entirely, while Councilman Ikaika Anderson had hoped to cut it in half. IKAIKA ANDERSON: "MY CONCERN MR. CHAIRMAN IS WITH THE CITY'S CONCERN ABILITY TO PAY FOR THESE INITIATIVES IN BOTH THE NEAR AND THE LONG TERM." BREENE HARIMOTO: IT'S NOT AN ISSUE OF THE GOOD WORK THAT THEY DO, THEY ALL DO GOOD WORK. 2856 THE REAL ISSUE IS ABOUT FOLLOWING THE PROCESS." In November, voters approved setting aside a half percent of the city's general fund to nonprofits, which amounts to about $5.5 million. The effort was spearheaded by Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who insisted the process for grants-in-aid earmarks has been open, and he never meant to set a cap for the amount of funding. ERNIE MARTIN: "WHEN I DRAFTED THAT CHARTER AMENDMENT, IT WAS NEVER INTENDED THAT THAT BE THE SOLE SOURCE OF SUPPORT FOR OUR NONPROFIT COMMUNITY. THAT WAS JUST THE MINIMUM BASELINE." ANDREW PEREIRA: "IN THE END, THE COUNCIL APPROVED THE ADDITIONAL $8.3 MILLION FOR NONPROFITS. HOWEVER, MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL SAYS THOSE FUNDS WILL NOT BE RELEASED." KIRK CALDWELL: "WE HAVE SENT LETTERS OUT TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO APPLIED TO LET THEM KNOW DON'T COUNT ON THE MONEY. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE ALSO SENT A LETTER OFF THAT SAID PLEASE APPLY THROUGH THE GRANTS-IN-AID PROCESS." The operating budget approved by the Council is $72 million dollars more than what the mayor proposed in HIS budget back in March. The council also passed a $634 million dollar capital improvement budget... about $12 million more than what the mayor wanted.