The Maui County Council today voted 7-2 to adopt a resolution authorizing Council Chair Gladys Baisa to contract for a revised appraisal of approximately 186 acres in West Maui under consideration by the County for acquisition.
The matter was first deliberated at Tuesday’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting, where a proposed resolution to get an entirely new appraisal failed 6-2.
Council members reaffirmed their support for the acquisition and preservation of the land at Launiupoko at today’s meeting, but those in favor of a revised appraisal expressed concerns related to a potentially “flawed” initial appraisal, which valued the property at $13 million.
Resolution 13-109, submitted by Budget and Finance Committee Chair Mike White last week and adopted today, states that “the appraisal relied upon dissimilar land sales” and that the “methodology employed and assumptions made have raised concerns over the $13 million valuation of the properties.”
Councilmember White issued a statement Tuesday on the proposed purchase.
Council Chair Baisa will now seek a revised appraisal that “does not rely upon dissimilar land sales, hypothetical conditions, and extraordinary assumptions,” according to the resolution.
“In the document submitted, it clearly states that several hypothetical conditions were provided to the appraiser by the client – which is us, the County, with specific instructions to incorporate them for analysis, purposes of comparison and value determination,” said Councilmember White, referring to the “Scope of Work” section in the submitted appraisal. “The appraisal should be independent.
“Do we simply ask our taxpayers to trust us?”
Councilmember Don S. Guzman noted the same “red flags” and said he preferred to have a “clean deal” without “extraordinary assumptions” provided by the County. “It is our obligation,” he said.
An “extraordinary assumption” is defined in the appraisal submitted as “an assumption, directly related to a specific assignment, which, if found to be false, could alter the appraiser’s opinion or conclusions.”
Councilmember G. Riki Hokama said he would be open to considering eminent domain on the property if the revised appraisal comes in higher than $13 million.
Council Chair Baisa, who voted against getting a second appraisal, expressed support for requesting a revised appraisal, noting that “there is something that doesn’t sound right.”
“I am much more comfortable supporting a look-see with the same appraiser than a new one,” Chair Baisa said. “We are seated in this Chamber to make the difficult decisions, and we must learn to cooperate and give a little bit to get things done.”
A copy of the resolution with the current appraisal is found here:
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