WAILUKU – The County of Maui Solid Waste Division announced a missed route affecting the Kihei service areas today due to a staffing shortage.
Hale Kai Street
The missed pickup is expected to be made on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
The Department apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates the community’s understanding and cooperation.
HONOLULU – After conducting a detailed analysis of Senate Bill 2682 (Relating to Financial Disclosure Statements), Gov. Neil Abercrombie today sent a letter to Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joe Souki stating that he will let the measure become law without his signature. He placed the bill on his intent-to-veto notice to legislators last week to allow for more review time.
In the letter, Gov. Abercrombie stated:
“When it comes to the role of volunteer participation in the policy and decision-making process of governing in a democracy, the power of government to intrude in people’s lives becomes far more than a technical issue. It goes beyond labels of left and right. The whole rationale of democratic governance, after all, is to ensure the protection of individual rights, particularly in matters of personal information and dignity.
“There are tough issues to be considered in this bill with competing values: Legitimate inquiry into possible conflicts regarding the public interest versus legitimate concerns about personal information on family, finances, credit history and medical records becoming cannon fodder in political battles.
“It seems reasonable in these circumstances then, to allow this bill to become law with the object of reviewing the disclosure documents to determine what information serves the public interest, what limitations are relevant and most importantly, what constitutes conflict. The issue then, is not about disclosure, but to what end and by what means.”
Analysts say it is likely too soon to tell if the governor’s decision will change the minds of two members of the UH Board of Regents – including Maui’s Saedene Ota – who resigned from the board rather than disclose personal an unrelated financial information without cause.
WAILUKU – Finance Director Danny Agsalog today announced that low interest rates for Maui County have generated millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. The lower interest rates are due to the County’s competitive bond sale of $68 million, which was sold on a premium with a net proceed of $75 million.
“The competitive offering attracted strong bids from 15 underwriters in which J.P. Morgan LLC landed the lowest bid at a true interest costs (TIC) of 2.63%,” According to Agsalog, out of the $75 million bond proceeds, $51 million will be used to fund for the new & ongoing capital improvement projects, and $24 million for refunding.
According to the latest bond market yields for 20-year bonds, the national average today is listed as 2.9. Today Maui County received a 2.63 rate. “This low 2.63% is an incredible funding cost for the new projects,” Agsalog said. “Our refunding Series 2004 & 2006 bonds saved us $2.1 million.”
This is the second time that the County of Maui has offered it bond sale in a competitive method which has been considered the best practice in selling bond. In recent years only Maui County has sold its bond via competitive sale. Most offerings in the State of Hawaii have been through negotiated sale.
“It was an extremely successful competitive sale,” said Acting Mayor Keith Regan. “We surely landed lower than the market today. This is fantastic news for our taxpayers.”
The County of Maui was recently rated by Moody’s as Aa1 and by Fitch Rating and Standard & Poors as AA+ for this bond sale, which presently gives Maui County the highest bond rating in the State
A Makawao man remains in stable condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center after being stuck under a tree near the Piiholo Water Treatment facility in Upcountry Maui.
Maui first responders were alerted around Noon, Thursday, that man was pinned under the branch of a large tree that fell while he and his female companion were hiking in the area. The man – a 36 year-old male – had sustained an injury to his lower right leg when a large tree trunk had became loose and pinned his leg to the side of dirt/rocky embankment.
Firefighters arrived and used a chainsaw and pry bar to free the males leg. The victim was provided first aid and packaged onto a backboard. Due to the bad terrain, Maui Fire Department’s Air-1 was used to airlift the patient out to a landing zone. The patient was then transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center by Medic-2, in stable condition, with no life threatening injuries.
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: Would you be kind enough to explain why the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is being denied to residents who serve to bolster the County economy? Our Circuit Breaker Application has been denied by the Real Property Tax Collections Section because “it does not meet the statutory requirements of the current circuit breaker credit ordinance” in that our property “is not the only property owned by any of the titleholders on Maui, in Hawai‘i, in another state or territory, or in a foreign country.” In fact, our second property is a condominium unit presently rented on a long-term basis which we will occupy if we become unable to manage the house that is presently our principal residence and the object of the denial. The revenue derived, combined with our social security benefits, allow us to live a more comfortable retirement. It appears unfair and discriminatory that residents who have invested in real property that is not real estate, or in intangible, monetary or other assets that do not serve to bolster the Maui economy are unfairly allowed to continue to benefit from the circuit breaker credit. The Statutory Requirements further discriminate in that they single out owners who have a second property versus those whose property includes an ‘ōhana unit. Is an ‘ōhana unit not in fact a second property? Thank you in advance for your response.
A: If you were denied when previously you received the Circuit Breaker tax credit, your application has been kept on file and may be reconsidered pending changes currently being discussed by the County Council. If you did not apply because it seemed like you would not qualify, you can apply until September 15, 2014 to be considered if the recently proposed changes are approved. The Budget and Finance Committee recently passed new revisions to the Circuit Breaker credit that will be heard soon by the full Council. There are several major problematic requirements that were enacted in 2013 by the Council in an attempt to weed out homeowners who were legally receiving the tax credit even though they had ample resources to pay their tax. However, the Council’s changes also served to disqualify a number of our senior citizens and others living on fixed incomes who then became ineligible for the Circuit Breaker. Because I felt there were flaws in the Council’s bill, I issued a veto which the members chose to override. During the year the changes were in place, many people who had previously received the tax credit were disqualified. The Council is now making further amendments in an effort to “fix” the tax credit. The Circuit Breaker is not an exemption, it is a monetary credit that reduces qualified homeowners’ property taxes due, based on the owners’ adjusted gross income. The revisions to the circuit breaker program are intended to grant Circuit Breakers credits to homeowners who truly do not have the ability to pay their fair share of property taxes. When the Circuit Breaker was created, it was intended to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their property taxes due to escalating land values. Circuit breaker credits are supposed to help homeowners keep their home, not to help them maintain a “comfortable” lifestyle. Regarding the ‘ōhana unit issue, technically an ‘ōhana unit, like a detached cottage, is considered an accessory dwelling that is part of the main property, not a second property.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: I am wondering if there’s anything that can be done about uninhabitable homes due to fire. Whose responsibility is it to have these demolished? How can we protect our home’s resale value if these are allowed to remain in the state they are currently in and also protect our neighborhoods from the blight it attracts? Same thing with dumped automobiles left long ago in open lots, rusted out and attracting trash and homeless encampments?
A: Issues such as these – burnt homes that have become eyesores; abandoned vehicles and homeless encampments in abandoned buildings—are complaint-driven. This means that the County responds to complaints generated by the public through the Request For Service (RFS) system. In the case of a home that was destroyed by fire, there may be numerous reasons that the structure remains standing for a period of time, such as insurance processing or appeals, investigations or even legal proceedings. In general, the County tries to work with property owners to resolve the problem, especially if a building has been deemed unsafe. Sometimes an owner says they do not have enough money to tear down the unusable building, or that they are waiting to claim insurance money to pay for the demolition.
Q: When will the sidewalk from Kihei to Wailea be completed? It is poorly lit at night and dangerous to walk on the narrow unpaved path.
A: The project is currently being designed, and our Public Works Department anticipates having it go out to bid soon with a contract awarded by the end of this year. Construction would most likely be completed by Spring of 2015.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.
After battling the initial “unscheduled cane Burn,” Maui Fire Department crews turned the job over to assets controlled by Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar. The initial blaze report came in around 10:36 a.m., Sunday involving more than 200 acres.
The fire was called 80 percent contained at 3:45 p.m., and the decision to mop up the area was made by HC&S with approximately 270 acres involved. Crews are on scene extinguishing hot spots and conducting mop up operation. The fire cause and damages are unavailable, an investigation is on going.
In a separate call, around 1:40 p.m., Sunday, Engine 10 crews responded to 25 Hohani Place in Haiku for a structure fire. Damage estimates were estimated to be at $250,000.00: $150,00 to the structure and $100,000.00 for the contents. The fire cause was determined to be electrical but deemed accidental.
The fire was brought under control at 2:05 p.m. and called extinguished at 2:24 p.m. Two people occupied the home, and one was home at the time of the fire – no injuries reported. The fire is under investigation at this time.
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