As county projects budget shrinks, Ane K extension still likely slated for 2020

HILO — The pace of public projects has slowed as the county nears its prudent borrowing limits and seeks other revenue sources to build needed roads, wastewater systems, workforce housing and fire stations.

Mayor Harry Kim’s capital improvement budget released last week listed 39 projects costing $190.9 million next year. That’s a significant decrease from the 85 projects costing $231.9 million in the 2013 budget released by former Mayor Billy Kenoi.

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The county’s bond debt ratio, based on all debt approved by the County Council, is at 12.43 percent of general expenditures, close to the 15 percent ceiling recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association.

Mayor Harry Kim and a minority of council members are recommending the county adopt a half-cent general excise tax surcharge to help fund road and transit projects. Currently, all of the money collected in general excise taxes goes into state coffers.

Even with an $8.8 million boost next year from a fuel tax increase, Kim said in his budget message, “there is still not enough to allow us to do the larger road projects that are also needed, such as the Ane Keohokalole extension to Kaiminani Drive.”

That doesn’t mean the project is postponed, said Aaron Stene, a former blogger who keeps close track of Big Island road projects.

Stene pointed to an April 6, 2017, presentation about road projects posted on the Department of Public Works website that estimates a notice to proceed on a shovel-ready project is planned for December 2020.

“Bear in mind the county wasn’t planning on starting construction until 2020,” Stene said.

The project to extend the major thoroughfare from Hina Lani Street to Kaiminani Drive is estimated at $40 million. It’s a community priority and one of the top road projects endorsed by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

But the road extension isn’t listed in the county’s six-year capital improvement budget. Two other West Hawaii road projects — Henry Street reconstruction and Oneo Lane — are listed in the 2018-2024 plan, as well as two East Hawaii projects — Puhala Street extension and 4-Mile Creek Bridge replacement.

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Although the Ane Keohokalole extension isn’t listed in the six-year CIP, a contract for an archaeological study is in process and soon to be executed, said Public Works spokesman Barett Otani. He said the project is not yet in the design or engineering stage.

Materials provided by the Kim administration in support of the GET surcharge say the money could enable the county to “fast-track” the project.

  1. areapolice March 11, 2018 6:17 am

    Not enough Money? Great, they gave everyone in government raises and screwed the people. The old boy policy is alive and well. And they really know how to line there pockets.


  2. Russell G March 11, 2018 6:57 am

    Good luck on anything major getting built in Kona as long as Harry Kim is the mayor. He has no track record of getting much of anything done – especially in Kona.


  3. LOL in Kona March 11, 2018 7:32 am

    Isn’t propaganda wonderful?
    “look over here! It is what YOU want!
    …..We need more $$$$”
    while
    …real estate taxes up,
    ….county raises, up,
    …county employment, up
    ….the amount of money is up, up, up,
    … ballistic missile alerts!
    and don’t forget paying for the Hnl tram…
    Shoot, they might even NOT layoff police, fire people.


  4. Big ideas March 11, 2018 8:11 am

    Redirect stupid spending…..we REALLY need a County band?


    1. oceanwatcher.com March 13, 2018 3:35 pm

      No, we don’t but what we really don’t need is more of Harry Kim as mayor!


  5. 4whatitsworth March 11, 2018 9:23 am

    West Hawaii pays about 70% of the property taxes, and just North Kona pays nearly 1/3 of the taxes. The amount of money that we have sent to Hilo is staggering and now that is not enough so they are cutting our capital projects?


    1. reply to March 12, 2018 6:13 pm

      The welfare people depend on it!
      Salary increases depend on it.


  6. paul March 11, 2018 3:35 pm

    I wish we could stop giving money to Honolulu,keep it on Big Island…also stop giving so much away in welfare,stop these huge salary raises and accept the fact that you can only due so much with money collected..and limit how many people can move here,sounds bad but a fact


  7. oceanwatcher.com March 13, 2018 3:34 pm

    Put the 27% pay raises you gave yourselves back in the general fund to cover some of these improvement projects – between now and 2020, should add up to be something of significance. And don’t even dream of taking funds from the 2% Land Fund! Can somebody with some brains please run for elected office in this county???????


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