Published in The Maui News, Feb. 15, 2015
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
Following a full round of deliberations by its nine standing committees earlier this month, the County Council will consider a wide range of committee reports on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
The Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Council Member Riki Hokama, recommended approval of a budget amendment to reflect a donation from Banfield Charitable Trust to the Meals on Wheels Program. The donation will allow for delivery of pet food to homebound seniors.
The committee also endorsed a budget amendment from the State of Hawaii to the “KALO” program – the Police Department’s cultural-based initiative for at-risk youth on Maui. Members of the committee also discussed the desirability of the department expanding the program to Lanai and Molokai.
The Housing, Human Concerns and Transportation Committee, chaired by Council Member Stacy Crivello, issued a report on use of the county-owned Pioneer Mill office building in Lahaina. Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council was granted a 25-year license for the property in 2007, but has decided to terminate the grant agreement.
Tri-Isle RC&D attempted to work with Na Kupuna O Maui to improve the building, but was unable to obtain financing. The Department of Housing and Human Concerns will seek to identify other potential licensees to restore and use the building.
Council Member Elle Cochran’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee submitted a resolution to the council to recognize the importance of protecting and enhancing the county’s reef ecosystems. Before acting on the resolution, the committee received updates from members of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council on implementation of the Maui Coral Reef Recovery Plan.
The Land Use Committee, chaired by Council Member Bob Carroll, recommended approval of a change in zoning for the site of the Old Lanai Police Station and Courthouse to allow commercial, office and retail use on the property. Located at the corner of Eighth Street and Fraser Avenue in Lanai City, the property includes four buildings – all of which are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The council will consider the recommendation of the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Council Member Mike Victorino, to confirm John Kim as prosecuting attorney for another term.
In addition, the council will likely refer to committee a proposed budget amendment to appropriate $130,000 to construct a new parking facility for county employees on property owned by Wailuku Union Church.
Last Monday, I traveled to Honolulu to confer with my counterparts from the other counties, Hawaii County Council Chairman Dru Kanaha, Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Kauai County Council Chairman Mel Rapozo. We discussed the importance of the counties presenting a unified message to the state government, particularly on matters of revenue distribution and met with key legislators.
The Hawaii State Association of Counties, led by Rapozo, is the primary vehicle for advocacy by municipal governments at the state Capitol. Maui County will host the annual HSAC conference June 25-26, providing an opportunity for reflection shortly after the legislative session concludes in May.
I am also advocating for county residents at the federal level. Later this month, I travel to Washington for the National Association of Counties’ legislative conference, which will be presided over by Hokama, the organization’s president.
* 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.