Mayor Kirk Caldwell outlines top priorities in State of the City

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Feb 26 2014 06:24:47 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 08:54:42 PM HST

Mayor Kirk Caldwell outlines his top priorities in his 2nd annual State of the City speech.

HONOLULU -

Mayor Kirk Caldwell doesn't want to regret that he didn't work harder or dream bigger.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.
     
That was a part of his State of the City address at Mccoy Pavilion Wednesday morning.
     
He laid out more top priorities this year than he did last.

Caldwell made it clear from the start, he's still about fixing our crumbling city roads. He wants to repave 300 more lane miles of roads this year, a goal he exceeded last year.

"I want to let you know that we are not going to slow down. I want to finish repaving all of our substandard roads in the next 4 years," said Caldwell.  

Also topping his list is upgrading sewer systems $4 billion worth completed by 2020. And moving forward with rail. By the end of this year more than 220 columns are set to be completed.

Caldwell drew applause all around when he pledged to spruce up our parks.

"Many of them need a lot of work. They are our communities front yards and we should treat them as such," said Caldwell.

The mayor sees the need to conserve energy.

KITV reported the city's energy costs soared by $15 million last year.

The mayor had an example street light at the speech because he plans to change all of the more than 50,000 city lights to new LED ones.
 
"We like them. Primarily because they save energy. Our estimates are about 40 percent saving so about $50 a year per light," said Chris Takashige, Director of Design and Construction.

That's $3 million in annual savings.

The number one complaint the city gets is homelessness. The mayor is renewing a push for a housing first initiative.

"To be able to say I am able to get into housing right away is a bit of a game changer because it says then I can go into a housing unit first, stabilize and be able to have some safety," said Jun Yang, Executive Director of Housing.

The lease would be secured and case managers would be able to help with those with mental health and substance abuse problems.

Mayor Caldwell also wants to continue restoring bus routes and believes advertisers should foot the bill.

"We need to find a steady revenue of source that comes from somewhere other than the pocketbooks of transit riders and taxpayers. That's why I continue to support bus advertisement," said Caldwell.

New initiatives bring new costs and the mayor acknowledges he will need to find savings. Some of which includes cutting 618 open positions.

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