As the City’s annual budget and departmental budget briefings get underway, the Council will evaluate 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 FY 2019.
One bright spot during this year’s discussions is Honolulu Police Department Chief Ballard’s budget priorities for the department. After discussions with Chief Ballard and her leadership team during the past 3 months, I am heartened that Chief Ballard has placed her emphasis on improving operations at the community or beat level.
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 my council colleagues and neighborhood advocates will push for at least 80%-85% staffing levels to help us address the impacts of more homeless encampments in our communities.
With roughly 250+ current vacancies to be filled, Assistant Chief Nagata reports
that the department is expediting its recruitment/training classes to achieve 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.
Chief Ballard proposes to re-establish HPD’s Juvenile Services Division and use “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 email@example.com on specific funding requests or neighborhood concerns; our recommendations for amendments to the CIP or operating budgets are due in mid-March.
Feedback from Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board members and residents will be invaluable 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 subdivisionapplications.
- 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.