It isn’t often you see the words “fascinating” and “budget” within six inches of each other. For the most part, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposed Fiscal Year 2006 budget fits that bill. But there is one exception, and that would be the 10-page chapter marked “Department of Liquor Control.”
It’s easy to find, marked with a pretty picture of Hanamanu on the title page. Not sure why they put Hanamanu on the LC page—coastline shots mark each department section—but it does provide a serene introduction to the LC’s financial charts and automaton goals like achieving “voluntary compliance with liquor laws and rules by licensees.”
The budget is more than a table of last year’s appropriations placed next to a 2006 wish list, though there is that. The department’s looking to spend $2.37 million in 2006, which is slightly down from 2005’s $2.51 million. Then again, all the monies come straight from liquor fees and fines, which adds a mercenary feel to the outfit.
To justify that kind of expenditure, the department estimates that it will carry out 14,800 establishment inspections in 2006—which is actually down from the 2005 projection of 17,200 inspections. But the LC clearly intends to do more with less—they’re predicting 200 case reports in 2006, doubling the 100 projected for this year.
More chilling, the LC predicts that its inspectors will write up 295 violations in 2006—down from the projected 2005 figure of 315 but up from 2004’s 222. In addition, in 2006, 85 of those violations should be serious enough to warrant action from the Adjudication Board, up from the 75 projected for this year and way up from the 65 dealt with in 2004.
Amazingly, the budget authors have absolute confidence in the abilities and judgment of the Liquor Control Officers. It’s predicting a perfect prosecution record—zero “not guilty” findings, which is exactly what happened in 2004 and is projected to happen this year. MTW