Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee to evaluate community recommendations on 2024 budget priorities
By Yuki Lei K. Sugimura
After a series of budget meetings held from March 30 to April 14 in nine residency areas around the County, the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee heard the community’s priorities and recommendations and is now evaluating them against the priorities and recommendations received from county departments.
The community meetings started in West Maui, where residents shared their support for transportation, health and safety infrastructure, and maintenance of roadways, parks and tennis courts. Testifiers also expressed support for community programs and organizations that assist youth and kūpuna.
On Molokai, residents were in favor of programs benefitting transportation and bus services, business planning and development, parks maintenance, healthcare, culture and arts, kūpuna and youth. The community expressed concern about the island’s police and fire stations located in flood zones and felt they should be relocated.
Community members of the Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency area testified in support of funding youth-focused organizations and programs. Testifiers also supported affordable housing, transportation services, programs that enhance community safety and adding pickleball and tennis courts in Haʻikū.
In East Maui, residents pushed for continued funding for senior and transportation services, invasive species control and nonprofits that benefit Hāna. Support was also expressed for Hāna community and cultural events, including youth education programs.
South Maui residents requested funding for flood-prevention and flood-mitigation infrastructure, road maintenance and improvements to infrastructure and parks. Diversified transportation options, programs that support transportation services, early childhood services, youth education, food production and environmental protection efforts were also supported.
Individuals from the Pukalani-Kula-ʻUlupalakua residency area supported programs and organizations that provide educational resources for youth. Community priorities covered invasive species and watershed protection, feral animal management, tax exemptions for farmers, and additional pickleball courts.
Lānaʻi residents requested funding for affordable housing, home health care and medical assistance for kūpuna, transportation services and improvements to roads. Support was also received for performance arts and youth programs, an agricultural park, farmers’ market, community kitchen and community facilities for dogs and skaters.
Residents of the Kahului and Wailuku-Waiheʻe-Waikapū residency areas spoke in favor of youth programs, animal care and shelter, invasive species control, agriculture and social services programs. Improvements to roadway infrastructure and pedestrian safety also received significant support.
Public testimony from each residency area meeting can be found at https://www.mauicounty.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Budget-Meeting-Memos.pdf. Concurrent with the Central Maui residency area meeting, the council also held a public hearing on the county budget on April 14.
A budget survey assisted with gathering input from those unable to attend meetings. The survey helped to pinpoint where tax dollars should be spent and the priority level of county programs and services.
The survey revealed that most of the participants wanted to maintain the prior fiscal year’s level of spending and that the budget should prioritize affordable housing, environmental protection, infrastructure and water resources. To view the data gathered from participants, visit https://www.mauicounty.us/2024-budget/.
The Committee’s next step is crafting a budget that will effectively serve the needs of the county based on this input. Decision-making will commence with the budgets of the executive branch and conclude with the legislative branch.
For more information, please visit https://www.mauicounty.us/2024-budget/ or call (808) 270-7887.
*Yuki Lei K. Sugimura is the chair of the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee. She holds the County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area. “Council’s 3 Minutes” is a column to explain the latest news on county legislative and community matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.