With the City’s annual budget cycle beginning this week with departmental budget briefings, the Council will be evaluating the City administration’s requests for capital improvement project priorities, such as homeless housing solutions, road repaving, and timely responses to potholes, abandoned vehicles, and other City services for Fiscal Year 2019.
Budget Committee briefings on individual departmental budget requests have been scheduled on March 12-16, 2018, and I have received comments from irate constituents on such issues as:
• Proposed fees for trash collections and bulky item pick-up, which many residents view as one of the most basic of City public health/sanitation and safety functions.
• Delays in fixing potholes, cracked sidewalks, repaving bumpy sections of heavily-used roadways.
• Slow progress in tackling homeless encampments, illegal dumping and other public safety concerns.
One bright spot during this year’s discussions is new Honolulu Police Department Chief Ballard’s budget priorities for the department. After discussions with Chief Ballard and her leadership team over the past 3 months, I am heartened that Chief Ballard has placed her emphasis on improving operations at the community or beat level. I encourage the Aiea community to schedule a briefing with Chief Ballard and her team at a future Neighborhood Board meeting.
For example, she seeks an increase in the department’s mandatory minimum staffing levels from 60% to 75%. Many mainland cities of comparable size have reported that their police operations are staffed at 90-95% in comparison to Honolulu’s staffing configurations, and I hope that fellow councilmembers and neighborhood advocates will push for at least 80%-85% staffing levels to help us address many of the impacts associated with increased homeless encampments in our communities.
With roughly 250+ current vacancies to be filled, Assistant Chief Nagata has reported that the department is expediting its recruitment/training classes to hasten a full complement of officers for positions currently authorized. The recent SHOPO contract approved in December 2017 provides competitive salary ranges to attract quality candidates to HPD.
To address activities often associated with increased numbers of chronic homeless in residential neighborhoods and increases in property crime/theft, Chief Ballard will re-establish HPD’s Juvenile Services Division. She is also pursuing expansion of “Project HELP” to expand the number of Community Policing Teams (CPT) officers who work directly with homeless outreach providers (e.g., Project HELP and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) to encourage chronic homeless individuals to accept services and housing.
Please contact Amanda Morales of my staff at 768-5073 or at email@example.com on specific funding requests or neighborhood concerns; our recommendations for CIP or operating budgets are due by Friday, March 23, 2018. As we compile our lists of neighborhood issues requiring financial solutions, we will be seeking Aiea Neighborhood Board and other residents’ feedback next month!
We’re interested in your comments on the administration’s pending budgets and fee measures:
• Bill 15 (2018) – Executive Operating Budget for FY 19 • Bill 16 (2018) – Executive Operating Budget for FY 19 • Bill 18 (2018) – Amends fees for building permits, nonconforming use certificates and subdivision applications.
• Bill 19 (2018) – Authorizes fees for City-provided refuse collection service for multi-family, ADU/related residences and nonprofit organizations, and appointment-based bulky item collection.
• Bill 20 (2018) – establishes real property tax rates for the FY 19 budget period.
These measures will be considered on First Reading at the March 28 Council meeting, and be under consideration as we review amendments to the City budgets for FY 19 during April-May.