Published in The Maui News, Jan. 11, 2015
By Mike White, for The Maui News
The proposed new county service center in Kahului is moving forward.
As recommended by the County Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, Bills 95 and 96 (2014), providing funding for the service center’s design and construction, will be considered for second and final reading at the first regular council meeting of the new term on Friday at 9 a.m.
The bills include budget amendments for architectural and engineering design fees of $1.6 million for the project at Maui Business Park Phase II.
The county pays more than $3 million annually to rent office space at the Maui Mall and other locations in Central Maui. With the new county service center in Kahului and the Kalana O Maui expansion in Wailuku’s civic center, the need to rent costly office space will be reduced.
While I support expansion to address employees’ constricted working environments, I urge the administration to always work within the county’s means and exercise fiscal prudence. I look forward to keeping tabs on construction plans to ensure these projects are developed efficiently.
The council will also consider referring to the appropriate committees various matters that were originally submitted near the end of the prior term. Among these items are:
- Land use entitlements for expansion of the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei.
- Updating the comprehensive zoning ordinance to incorporate changes to the parks districts recommended by the Lanai, Maui and Molokai planning commissions.
- A bill introduced by Council Member Elle Cochran to facilitate composting at appropriate locations throughout Maui County.
- A communication from Council Member Robert Carroll about health and safety concerns at the Lower Nahiku Bridge in East Maui.
- A request to grant a license to install more electric-vehicle charging stations for the JUMPSmartMaui program.
Review Friday’s agenda at MauiCounty.us/calendar.
Council committees also return to work this week.
The Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Council Member Mike Victorino, will meet Monday at 9 a.m. to review Resolution 15-4, relating to the Rules of the Council. The rules were referred for further review after being adopted at the Jan. 2 organizational meeting.
The rules establish how the council conducts its business and cover topics such as executive meetings, testimony, attendance and even travel. Review the current rules at MauiCounty.us/rules.
A discussion on open data will be considered Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. by the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee, chaired by Council Member Don Guzman. He is working on a pilot project to make government information more readily accessible in collaboration with Maui’s high-tech community.
Correction: Committee discussion on open data that had been planned for Tuesday afternoon and referenced in Sunday’s Chair’s 3 Minutes column has been postponed. Written testimony on the matter can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing EAR-39. Please call 270-7665 for any questions.
The Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee, chaired by Cochran, will meet Monday at 1:30 p.m. to get updates from the departments of Public Works and Environmental Management. Each department’s director will provide an overview of current operations and highlight opportunities where the council and administration can work together on new solutions.
Finally, the opening day of the 28th state legislature is Jan. 21. We’ll keep you in the loop on the County Council’s lobbying efforts.
* Mike White is the chairman of the Maui County Council and 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.