A resolution to authorize the Council Chair to contract for a new appraisal of the 186-acre coastal parcel at Launiupoko, Maui failed at today’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting.
The matter will also be before the Council on Friday at 9 a.m.
Before today’s vote, the committee discussed the property’s proposed $13 million price tag. A proposed budget amendment woud access $6.5 million from the County’s open space fund and get another $6.5 million from bonds.
Several Council members expressed their support of land preservation and protection.
“I value the opportunity that we have to preserve land and have open space,” Councilmember Stacy Crivello said. “It is a valued investment for our future generations.”
Councilmember Michael P. Victorino described the opportunity as “priceless.”
Committee Chair Mike White echoed the support for the protection of open space, but reminded Council members of their right to request a second appraisal. He deemed that action as expected within their roles as keepers of the public’s tax dollars.
“I support the purchase of open space for future generations and I believe this acquisition is one that the County should pursue,” Councilmember White said. “However, the question is not about the need for open space, but rather at what cost? What good is purchasing land for future generations if the future tax base will not be able to afford it?”
Councilmember White issued a statement on the proposed Launiupoko parcel purchase discussed at the meeting.
The purchase contract indicates that the $13 million price is valid until the end of the year.
Some committee members and testifiers expressed concern on “delaying” action on the purchase and noted that a possible higher appraised value may cause the County to spend more money.
Councilmember Elle Cochran agreed with Committee Chair White that “due diligence” is required to make sure that “the number is what it is.” She added that “it is not easy to make tough, heart-wrenching decisions on this seat, but we need to find out how and if we are going to spend tax dollars in a fair manner.”
The Budget and Finance Committee meeting adjourned at noon with no action on the item. The Council on Friday will also consider another resolution, which would authorize the Council Chair to contract for a revised appraisal of the subject property by the same appraisal firm.
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