Honolulu

High-balance special funds stow millions meant for good causes – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2022-05-27 00:08:30 –

Honolulu (KHON2) — Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes go to a special fund for everything from affordable homes to clean water, parks and roads. Always investigate And I wanted to know why money wasn’t being spent fast on what it was supposed to fix.

A well-balanced special fund is a danger signal for taxpayer advocates and a ripe goal for lawmakers who need to balance their budgets. KHON2 has investigated what is happening with some of Honolulu County’s largest funds.

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Recently always surveyed Efforts to spend tens of millions accumulated in recent years with affordable housing funds in the county.. The Branjardi administration said it is pushing the project off the ground.

Affordable housing funds are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of millions of people are sitting unused in a special fund for the city and county of Honolulu.

“The sum of all of them is $ 411 million, which is a lot of money,” said Tom Yamachika of the Hawaii Tax Foundation. “The balance of all these special funds increased by $ 33 million last year. Why? Why don’t we collect more money and spend it? Using it for the benefit of people It has become. “

KHON2 asked the purse representative what he wanted to happen in the various departments responsible for managing each special fund.

“We want money to be spent for a defined purpose,” said Andy Kawano, director of the city’s budget and financial services department. “But in addition to that, it will take time because of the daily priorities we are working on on behalf of the mayor and his administration.”

Larger fixed income projects, debt repayments, roads and other large projects continue to have high balances, but each large project makes a significant return.

KHON2 wanted to know more about other accounts that have accumulated tens of millions over time, despite their noble purposes like the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund. At last year’s closing, it was about $ 40 million, and there was a shortage of projects eligible for spending.

“I think the application has been limited for years, but I know there are currently two, and perhaps three, in progress,” Kawano said. “I think the Commission is considering expanding the scope of funding reasonably and cautiously. It will always focus on land conservation.”

Kono said he was considering ways to legislate the change, which may have to be due to a revision of the charter.

Another big special fund is the $ 8 million Highway Beautification and Scrap Revolving Fund, about half of which is for scrap cars.

“Most of that budget is our towing contract,” explained Kim Hashiro, who heads the customer service department. “This is intended to remove scrapped or scrapped vehicles from the road. We also hold regular auctions, so all vehicles not participating in the auction are towed and stored.”

They have to do it thousands of times each year than just a few years ago:

Towed scrap car

2021 – 5,055
2020 – 4,393
2019 – 4,741
2018 – 3,188

On the other hand, far fewer residents are using a free car scrapping program that can drive unwanted cars out of the driveway.

Free junk car program

2021-792
2020 – 889
2019 – 1,599
2018 – 1,090

“We’re trying to get the public not only to abandon the car by the side of the street, but to actually inform us so that we can take proper care and deal with it,” Hashiro said. ..

Whether it’s roads and cars, land and streams, or affordable homes, taxpayer advocates say they can spend their special money faster for their purposes, or: ..

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“Abolish special funding and go back to the city council every year and ask the department to justify what they did,” Yamachika said.

High-balance special funds stow millions meant for good causes Source link High-balance special funds stow millions meant for good causes

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