Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Councilman Joey Manahan want to spend $250,000 in taxpayer money to pay for the expansion of New Hope, an international evangelical Christian megachurch with multiple locations on Oahu.

Martin, who represents the North Shore, and Manahan, who represents Kalihi, added the $250,000 request to their latest proposed budget amendments.

“The Center for Hope will include a 4-story parking structure that will fit approximately 270 stalls, an expo center, a 400-seat auditorium, a dining cafe, a resource center, and new restrooms,” Manahan’s budget request explained. “The center will benefit its thousands of islandwide church members and provide various outreach programs.”

Candidates for the Legislature stand and introduce themselves at New Hope Leeward's gubernatorial forum in October 2014.

Candidates for the Legislature stand and introduce themselves at New Hope Leeward’s gubernatorial forum in October 2014.

Alia Wong/Civil Beat

Two years ago, New Hope ran into trouble when it tried to use public facilities for church gatherings.

The church paid $775,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming it shortchanged the state when it rented public school facilities on Oahu. The church subsequently ramped up its political activism.

The City Council is in the midst of deliberating the fiscal year 2017 budget and plans to send a final version to the mayor in June.

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