Monday, Dec. 04, 2023|
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The budget proposed by Mayor Harry Kim will add seven new positions to county government.
Kim is asking for a deputy director for the Office of Information Technology, two specialists for Aging and Disability Services, a clerk III for the Wastewater Division, a recycling specialist, a special homeless program coordinator for the Housing Agency and a real property valuation analyst for the Finance Department.
Three of the seven will be grant funded. In addition, one deputy prosecuting attorney and two police officers will be moved from grant funding to county funding and their status will be changed from temporary to permanent.
Kim said Monday he’s been hearing a lot from the community about the need for more police officers, especially in Puna and Ka‘u.
Unfortunately, he said, he has to strategically add positions that will make the county more efficient and save money, such as through information technology, or bring more money into the budget, such as hiring a real property valuation analyst to create a new property tax category for vacation rentals to ensure those properties are paying their share of taxes. Other positions are needed to meet federal requirements.
The homeless coordinator is needed to tackle one of the most pressing problems on the island, he said.
“I truly wish I had a lot of money in the budget for more police officers,” he said.
Kim’s request follows 15 new positions added last year, including a county arborist requested by the County Council and eight new parks caretakers and recreation personnel to help care for the many new parks added during former Mayor Billy Kenoi’s tenure. There also were new planners and a land use checker in the Planning Department and two Housing and Community Development specialists, as well as an account clerk for Mass Transit.
The new positions represent a small fraction of the 2,800 people already employed by the county. The county is the second-largest employer on the island, behind state government and just ahead of the federal government.
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