Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim has been released from Hilo Medical Center and is back on the job this morning, according to the mayor’s spokeswoman.
Janet Snyder told media the 78-year-old mayor arrived at 7:12 a.m. at the morning briefing at Hawaii County Civil Defense Headquarters in Hilo.
She described the mayor, who had been hospitalized since Saturday after suffering his sixth heart attack, as upbeat.
“Not only was he back, he was funny,” Snyder said. “… He was very encouraging.”
Snyder said Talmadge Magno, the county’s Civil Defense administrator, had managed to talk his way into the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit to see the mayor.
According to Snyder, Kim described the visit using “colorful language.”
Kim has scheduled a meeting with department heads for this morning to discuss budget cuts. The County Council earlier this week rejected a 1/4 percent surcharge for the county on the state’s general excise tax. Kim supported the temporary surcharge assessment, which was to have run through 2020.
The county is currently facing an estimated $5 million budgetary shortfall because lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone has claimed hundreds of properties in lower Puna, and the county can’t collect tax revenues on those homes.
Snyder said the official count of homes lost to lava this morning is 598, but the count is ongoing and the actual number of homes destroyed is actually higher.