Published in The Maui News, Feb. 1, 2015
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
The Maui County Council’s standing committees are working hard to review an array of legislation and other policy issues before the council’s annual budget review begins at the end of next month.
The Committee of the Whole last Tuesday reviewed the status of the federal case brought by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and other organizations relating to the county’s waste-management practices. There is a lot at stake in this litigation for both county taxpayers and Maui’s environment.
COW Feb. 6 agenda: MauiCounty.us/meeting/150206cow
The Planning Committee conducted a meeting and site inspections on Lanai on Wednesday, continuing its work on the island’s community plan. The Land Use Committee met on Lanai the same day to consider Pulama Lana’i’s request to rezone the old police station in Lanai City for mixed uses.
The Land Use Committee returns to the Council Chambers Monday for a 9 a.m. meeting on the proposed 86-acre Puunene Heavy Industrial Subdivision. At 1:30 p.m. Monday, the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee will discuss restoration of Maui’s coral reefs and the definition of “sustainability” under the Maui County Charter.
On Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee will conduct a meeting on the Maui Bus and other transit options. Representatives from the county Department of Transportation and Maui Economic Opportunity will provide updates.
The council meeting on Friday at 9 a.m. will feature the first committee reports issued in the new council term. The Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee is recommending Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong and Water Director David Taylor each be confirmed for another four-year term. Various nominations to boards and commissions will also be covered.
Review committee meetings: MauiCounty.us/calendar
The first ordinances enacted in 2015 amend the county’s list of trees entitled to special protection, known as “exceptional trees.” By ordinances 4180 through 4186, the council has added four trees to the list and deleted three others that are either diseased or pose safety hazards.
At the end of this month, I will join several council members in Washington, D.C., for the National Association of Counties’ legislative conference. Council Member Riki Hokama, NACo’s president, will preside over the conference, which will provide opportunities for professional development and networking with other county officials.
I look forward to meeting with Hawaii’s congressional delegation and other federal officials to advocate for Maui County’s interests.
I represented the council at the state Capitol on Jan. 26 for Gov. David Ige’s State of the State address and a legislative briefing on county finances. I’ve been meeting with officials in both state and county government throughout Hawaii to ensure counties’ interests are given due consideration during the state legislative session, which began Jan. 21 and is scheduled to run until May 7.
Track bills: MauiCounty.us/2015stateleg
We are working on updating the council’s news site, mauicounty.us, to include helpful resources for the public to track bills before the council. Other resources such as the 2015 council calendar, tips on providing written and oral testimony to the council and information on testimony I submit to the state Legislature are also available.
If you have any questions while you’re on the site, a live chat window connects you with council staff during office hours. In addition, you can always reach the council on Facebook at fb.com/mauicountycouncil and on Twitter at @mauicounty.
* 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.