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Maui Council Approves $822.6M Budget, Including Virus Funds

Casey Harlow / HPR
Kalana O Maui Building in Wailuku

WAILUKU — The Maui County Council has approved an $822.6 million budget for the next fiscal year that includes $66.6 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.
The budget approved by the council Friday is $47 million less than Mayor Michael Victorino's proposed budget of $869.8 million released in March, The Maui News reported.

Victorino made the proposal as coronavirus cases were increasing but before the county's stay-at-home orders went into effect.

The approved budget, effective from July 1 to June 30, 2021, includes $683 million for operations and $140 million for capital improvement projects.

The total was less than the $823.6 million passed by the council last year.

Council members were able to scale back the budget by asking all county departments to take at least a 5% cut.

The council's Economic Development and Budget Committee focused on funding projects that are ready to begin and reduced money for programs that could be deferred to the following fiscal year. The committee also reduced expenses including travel, office furniture and equipment.

The budget largely kept intact social service grants under the Department of Housing and Human Concerns.

In anticipation of residents needing additional assistance securing affordable housing rather than buying homes during the pandemic, the council reduced the First Time Homebuyers Program from $3 million to $2 million and increased the Affordable Rental Housing Program from $1.4 million to $2 million.

Victorino signed a $67 million budget amendment measure Friday containing federal coronavirus relief funding. The mayor said he will release at least 50% of the money immediately once a memorandum of understanding with the governor is in place.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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