WAILUKU, Hawaii—The Maui County Council’s Economic Development and Budget Committee will be taking a new approach this budget session in light of COVID-19, announced Council Vice Chair Keani N.W. Rawlins-Fernandez, who chairs the committee.
“I worked closely and expeditiously with Council Chair Alice Lee to take necessary proactive steps to protect public health while promoting continued civic engagement within our community during the upcoming budget session,” Rawlins-Fernandez said. “We made the tough call two weeks ago that we would begin the legislative branch transitioning to work remotely and conduct all fiscal year 2021 budget deliberations via video conferencing.”
The budget is the financial plan for the county’s upcoming fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. It determines departmental funding to carry out assigned duties, grants distributed to community organizations and rates and fees the county may collect.
The budget also outlines appropriations for the county’s capital improvement projects, which include road repair and maintenance, water system upgrades and park improvements.
“Because the dangers surrounding this virus are continually changing, we are approaching each new challenge head-on and seeking solutions to overcome them,” Rawlins-Fernandez said. “These are unprecedented times for everyone in our community, but we will adapt in order to fulfill all obligations. We ask that the public please be patient with these new remote procedures and stay informed about how to participate through our online resource updates.
“Public participation was a priority, so we ensured that all meetings will be available for viewing live on Channel 53 and MauiCounty.us and we will receive public testimony.”
Written testimony can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and oral testimony can be provided by connecting to https://BlueJeans.com/597785199 or calling 1-408-317-9253 and entering meeting code: 597 785 199, subject to change.
“Requesting that the committees conduct departmental reviews prior to the start of the budget process really helped us get a lot of questions answered beforehand with the intention of streamlining the process,” Rawlins-Fernandez said. “I know committee members recognize that our administrative departments are working around the clock to respond to the needs of our community, so Iʻm confident that they will carefully consider their list of departmental inquiries during our review and limit them to only critical questions that are required for final decision-making.”
For information on how to submit oral testimony via phone or videoconference and for all documents and up-to-date changes on the budget session, please visit MauiCounty.us. Committee meetings to discuss the budget are scheduled to start on March 30 and continue throughout the month of April.