Eruption costs Hawaii County $2 million per week
Lava is not the only thing piling up on the Big Island, so is the cost of this natural disaster.
HONOLULU (KITV) - Lava is not the only thing piling up on the Big Island, so is the cost of this natural disaster.
In addition to the hundreds of homes destroyed and thousands of acres of land now covered with lava, this disaster is adding up for Hawaii County -- with a cost of $2 million per week.
Along with staffing Hawaii County Civil Defense 24 hours a day, county workers are also assisting at shelters, while additional crews are working on roads or other infrastructure. There are also costs for additional resources and emergency responders, including police officers, fire crews and paramedics who have been assisting people in evacuation zones.
While the number one question is, "How long will this disaster go on?" Another one also being asked is, "How will the county pay for it?"
The hundreds of homes lost to lava will mean a decrease of $5-6 million in tax revenue.
After cutting the budget by 3%, Hawaii County is looking at the possibility of cutting another 5%. That could mean facilities like the dump will have to close on holidays or maybe even one day during the week.
Tightening of the budget could also result in closing of public pools on certain days, or lead to furloughs for union workers.
Another possibility is raising the General Excise tax by a half of point to help pay for this disaster.
Mayor Harry Kim has been meeting with the City Council to talk about these tough budget issues and how to cover the costs of the on-going eruption.