Published in The Maui News, March 20, 2016
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
Streaming videos of Maui County Council meetings and committee meetings conducted in the Council Chambers are now available on the council’s website: mauicounty.us.
The Maui County General Plan instructs county officials to “promote civic engagement,” “promote and ensure public participation and equal access to government among all citizens” and “use advanced technology to improve efficiency.”
To fulfill these directives, the council has contracted with a Colorado-based company called Granicus to provide live and archived video content on the website.
Meetings will also continue to be shown on Akaku Channel 53.
Granicus is also assisting the council in posting online versions of meeting agendas, legislation and committee documents. This will help the county’s legislative branch use less paper.
The council is committed to transparency and improving access to government for all residents of Lanai, Maui and Molokai. The videos and documents made available on the website will make it easier for constituents to know what’s happening in county government and to provide well-informed testimony.
The “less paper” initiative will allow members of the public to look at the same bills, resolutions and other documents as council members. Over time, bulky paper binders will no longer have to be maintained, as all legislative content will eventually be accessed online.
Meanwhile, the council looks forward to receiving the mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget on Thursday. The council’s budget session starts next week.
I urge everyone in the community to assist the council by reviewing the budget proposal and identifying issues that need to be addressed. Submit budget-related testimony to the Budget and Finance Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing BF-1.
During the budget session, the committee will accept public testimony in the Council Chambers and from the council’s Hana, Lanai and Molokai offices on most weekdays. Evening meetings will be held throughout all parts of the county in April.
After receiving testimony from two-dozen residents in an evening meeting on March 10, the Special Committee on County Governance will deliberate at 1 p.m. on March 31 at the Planning Department Conference Room, adjacent to the county building. The special committee, composed of 11 community volunteers, has been meeting since December on the question of whether the County of Maui should adopt a county manager system, instead of the current mayor-council format.
A report is due to the council by June 1. The deadline has been established to allow the council time to consider placing a charter amendment on the general election ballot.
On April 1, the council will have a regular meeting at 9 a.m. Then at 1:30 p.m., a special council meeting that started on Lanai on March 12 will be reconvened, allowing for the new Lanai Community Plan to be passed on first reading.
The council expects to receive the proposed new Molokai Community Plan from the Planning Department later this year.
* Mike White is chair 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.