CHAIR’S 3 MINUTES
Published in The Maui News, OCT 16, 2016
By MIKE WHITE
The Maui County Council has used its emergency powers to quickly appropriate $5 million to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of last month’s stunning Iao Valley flooding.
The County of Maui is working with all levels of government to ensure we are able to keep our community safe. I appreciate the hard work of county personnel and the many different agencies and private partners who have responded to this unexpected event.
I am also grateful for the Iao Valley residents and other concerned community members who have taken the time to testify before the council and provide input so we can move forward in the best manner possible. The council has committed to continue supporting the recovery efforts, while also exercising a great level of due diligence from an environmental, cultural and fiscal standpoint.
After touring the area with officials overseeing the recovery efforts, I know the massive scale of the work. I also understand additional cleanup may be necessary, so the council on Oct. 7 referred the matter of supplementary funding to the Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Council Member Riki Hokama, for further consideration and discussion with the community.
The council also referred to Hokama’s committee a proposal to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds to fully fund the skate park to be located at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center complex in Pukalani. This long-awaited Upcountry skate park should be operational by late next year, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
The council also approved eight proposed state laws for inclusion in the 2017 Maui County Legislative Package. The proposals will be formally presented to the state Legislature when it convenes in January.
One of the proposals would give the counties a greater voice in collective bargaining negotiations, while another would return a greater share of transient accommodations tax revenue to the counties where it is earned. These state bills would provide more balance in the relationship between the state and the counties and provide more fairness to county taxpayers.
Other proposals would amend the state Sunshine Law by allowing council members to share government records with their colleagues and the public and to freely attend community meetings, respectively. Enactment of this state legislation would further government openness, transparency and accessibility.
Other elements of the county package address land use and affordable housing. Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Report 16-155, available on the council website, provides all of the details.
The next council meeting is Friday at 9 a.m. The agenda and supporting material are available at mauicounty.us.
Bill 95 (2016), which would provide equipment funding of $30,500 to the Molokai Humane Society and $20,500 to the Maui Humane Society, is up for second and final reading. Bill 100 (2016), establishing a crosswalk at South Kihei Road adjacent to the Kihei Holiday Resort, as requested by residents and approved by the Public Works Commission, will also be considered for final passage.
The council is on pace to have one of its most productive years.
Oct. 7 is the second-earliest date in County of Maui legislative history, dating back to 1905, by which 100 bills have been passed in a year. I thank my colleagues and our partners in the community and administration for helping to make this council so productive and responsive.
* Mike White is chairman of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.
Aloha Mike White:
Please correct the charges in my Agriculture Water bill to comport with my 100% agriculture water use on my 1/2 acre farm here on Molokai.
My farm lot is not used at all for residential, there are no residential structures, not even toilet on my small agriculture lot where I grow vegetables and fruits for sale to local stores and restaurants. Therefore, I should not be charged the residential tiers before my quantity of water used passes over those hurdles. My agreement with DWS clearly states that I will be charged the Agriculture Rate for ALL water used for agriculture.
I asked your Staff why the residential tiers were included in my water charges, and they explained that MOST farms have a residence included thereon which causes water to be used for their residences as well as for the agriculture. They agreed that it is a one size fits all system that did not consider small agriculture operations that do not include residential water uses, and that you would have to be the person to make appropriate changes.
That is fine for most Ag-Residence arrangements, but in my case, I have a separate lot for my residence and separate residential water meter, and I pay for my residential water uses there. But my Ag lot is totally separate with a separate water meter, and the 100% ag water uses thereon. I should not be charged the residential tier rates before reaching the AgWater Rate of $1.10/1000gls. My operation is so small that I rarely get past the residential tier charges, especially now that you are billing monthly instead of every two months. I am being charged virtually all residential rates for my agriculture water uses, contrary to my agreement that DWS will charge me AgWater Rates for ALL water used there.
Therefore, please recalculate my Ag Water billing to comport with our contract that I will be charged only the Ag Water Rate [$1.10/1000gls] for ALL water used for my my ag lot farming operations as indicated by my water meter there. re:2087896421 for George Peabody on Molokai
I have pointed out this unfair discrepancy to Staff several times over past several years, but no corrections have been made. I talked to them again this morning, and while sympathetic, they advised I would have to write to you to effect such a correction in my case. Please do so now.
10254 Kamehameha V Hwy
Kaunakakai, HI 96748