Kauaʻi County Mayor Derek Kawakami delivered his first State of the County address today in Lihuʻe, pointing to aging infrastructure repairs and investments in modernizing county operations as his two policy priorities.
Kawakami also committed to balancing the county's fiscal 2020 budget without new property tax rate or user fee increases.
"We will not raise tax rates on your homes. We will not raise user fees and we will not borrow more money for capital improvement projects," the mayor said.
His budget plan, subject to County Council review, calls for $242 million in operating expenses and $36 million in capital spending. This yearʻs operating budget, he said, includes $25 million in anticipated general excise tax revenues previously approved by the council.
"We will utilize those funds to expand our bus service, repair potholes and fix our roads," he said.
In addition to addressing infrastructure maintenance, Kawakami also plans to invest in modernizing the county’s computer and information systems. Other priorities he identified include affordable housing and park improvements.
The mayor also reiterated the county’s commitment to maintaining a “rainy day” fund that can be used in the event of an emergency, such as last year’s severe flooding in Hanalei.
The full speech can be heard on the Hoʻike Kauai Community Television YouTube channel.