Honolulu City Council members are seeking to provide relief to Oahu property owners caught off-guard by a hike in property taxes this year.

In June, the City Council approved Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to increase the tax rate for non-owner occupied properties worth $1 million or more from $3.50 to $6 per $1,000 valuation.

Kawamoto Kahala house moving van

A home in Kahala.

The measure was aimed at increasing taxes for people with investment properties, or second and third homes on Oahu.

But some owners who live in their homes have complained that they missed the deadline for filing for an exemption from the tax increase. Homeowners in high-end areas have also been recently hit by higher property assessments, fueling discontent over the tax hike.

To assuage frustrations, council members filed three separate resolutions on Thursday seeking relief for some property owners.

The resolutions, proposed by Chair Ernie Martin, Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga and Councilman Stanley Chang, urge the city to negotiate lower rates with the homeowners living in their homes who failed to obtain an exemption or give them a one-year reprieve from the new tax increase.

The city’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services estimates that about 7,400 properties fall into the tax category, known as Residential A.

Martin criticized the Caldwell administration for not doing a better job of informing homeowners affected by the tax increase.

“I’m frustrated that the administration didn’t do a better job of outreach and engagement with the affected property owners once the measure passed in June,” Martin said in a press release. “This emergency type of measure would not be needed if all of those property owners were given proper guidance and assistance.”

Copies of the resolutions can be found here.





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