WAILUKU – The Maui County Council approved the $603.6 million budget for fiscal year 2015 on second and final reading Friday by an 8-0 vote, Councilmember Mike White announced today.
“We have a very good council,” White said. “I thank my colleagues, the staff and the public involved in crafting this important document.”
Bills 31–37 (2014) pertaining to the budget were based on the recommendations made by the Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by White.
White said the budget reflects a 3.1 percent reduction for all real property tax rates – relief for taxpayers that was prioritized by the committee. A $10 million appropriation for countywide mainline and water infrastructure improvements was also included.
Early in the budget session, a survey was conducted to ask residents how the council should focus on balancing the annual budget. White said 50 percent of respondents requested the council to reduce county expenditures, while 38 percent asked to maintain current levels of spending, and 12 percent suggested raising taxes and fees to expand programs.
White said the committee listened and declined increases proposed by the mayor in residential refuse collection and tipping fees and in water system development fees, particularly for 5/8-inch pipes.
While the budget is $18.5 million less than what the mayor had proposed, White noted support for long-term economic initiatives like funding for the expansion of the Kula Agricultural Park and Lahaina Boat Harbor upgrades. Funding for Play and Learn Sessions Program, or PALS, was also expanded, and appropriations were made for a Kihei multipurpose center.
Council members today applauded the leadership of Budget and Finance Committee Chair White.
“It’s a tremendous budget in difficult times,” Councilmember Riki Hokama said. “We must continue to ensure employees and retirees have confidence in the county by making sure their benefits are secured.”
Hokama suggested the Makawao-Haiku-Paia district, where White holds the residency seat, may have received the lowest level of appropriations, which demonstrated the committee chair’s fairness. “That doesn’t happen at other levels of government,” Hokama said.
“We represent the entire county,” Councilmember Michael Victorino said. “Every district meeting was jam-packed with testifiers.”
Councilmember Elle Cochran said she was initially uncertain about the process but gained clarity and said “hats off to the budget chair,” commending White’s “method to his madness.”
Councilmember Don Guzman thanked White for providing a “roadmap,” that guided members in the process. Guzman compared this year’s budget process with last year’s and found it “outstanding.”
Councilmember Stacy Crivello gave White kudos for his “patience.” “He was very understanding in dealing with the members and the public,” she said.
Council Chair Gladys Baisa thanked everyone involved in the budget process and said she enjoyed the camaraderie among her colleagues. “Council members have very difficult jobs, yet we continue to present what’s best for the community,” she said.
The FY 2015 budget now heads to the mayor for signature. The fiscal year begins July 1.
Council Vice-Chair Robert Carroll returned to vote for the budget after being away from the council because of an illness earlier in the budget session. Councilmember Don Couch was excused for personal business on Friday.
WAILUKU – The Office of the Maui County Clerk has certified that the SHAKA Movement has collected the required amount of additional valid signatures needed to advance to the Council a petition to place a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, County Clerk Danny Mateo announced today. This is the first crowd-sourced initiative to achieve success on a major issue in County history.
“The SHAKA Movement submitted a supplemental petition on May 27 that contained 9,626 signatures,” Mateo said. “Our office has reviewed the submission and determined that 4,342 registered voters in the County of Maui have signed the petition, while 5,284 signatures have been deemed invalid.”
With a prior certification from the County Clerk last month, the SHAKA Movement has now collected a total of 9,062 valid signatures, Mateo said. Twenty percent of the total number of voters who cast ballots in the last mayoral general election, or 8,465 registered voters, were required to sign the petition to have it formally submitted to the Council.
The petition seeks enactment of a GMO moratorium ordinance.
According to the Maui County Charter, the council will now have 60 days to act on the proposed ordinance. If the council does not adopt the ordinance within 60 days, it will be placed on the 2014 General Election ballot for consideration by the electorate.
Maui County Farm Bureau Director Warren Watanabe freleased a statement on behalf of his members on Maui and Moloka’i, stating, “The Maui County Farm Bureau and the Molokai Farm Bureau strongly oppose this initiative. It’s an anti-agriculture measure that jeopardizes hundreds of good ag jobs on Maui and Molokai, as well as the livelihoods of many others who do business with the Hawaii seed companies or benefit from their presence in Maui County. Should this initiative pass, the consequences for local families and Maui County’s economy would be devastating.”
To access the Charter and find additional information, visit www.mauicounty.gov/clerk.
An earthquake rumbled off the north coast of Moloka’i early today. No damages or injuries have been reported. The 4:42 a.m. temblor registered at 3.8 on the Richter scale.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a LOCAL EARTHQUAKE INFORMATION STATEMENT. This statement is for information only. No action required:
ORIGIN TIME – 4:42 p.m. HST
COORDINATES – 21.3 NORTH 157.1 WEST
LOCATION – Off the north coast of Molokai
MAGNITUDE – 3.8.
EFFECTS: No tsunami is expected.
Part of Alamaha Street in Kahului will be closed on Thursday night, June 12, 2014, while Department of Water Supply personnel replace a broken water service line. The project was originally scheduled for June 5 (tonight).
Traffic on Alamaha will be limited to local traffic only between Hanakai Street and Hanamau Street from 5 p.m.until midnight. Motorists are advised to follow signage and traffic control, and/or use alternate routes.
In addition, water will be off for customers at 296 and 312 Alamaha Street from 6 until 11:30 p.m. Affected customers are advised to store water for the evening if needed. Customers should flush their waterlines for a short time Friday to ensure that no sediment has accumulated in their waterlines during the project. In addition, customers are requested to call the 24-hour service line (270-7633) only if a water emergency occurs.
Kahului, HI – Neldon Mamuad, CEO of MAUIWatch.com, announced today he is seeking the position of Mayor of Maui County. Neldon “AZD” Mamuad has distinguished himself as one of the most innovative, visionary and dynamic media personalities on Maui.
A former Maui radio programmer & personality, Mamuad is a community leader, entrepreneur and business professional. In addition to his professional duties as CEO of MAUIWatch.com & Director of Event Technology for PSAV Presentation Services, he is also the Board Vice President for Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc. focusing on native Hawaiian health advocacy. Mamuad is also a member of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce and the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, he was appointed as Liquor Control Commissioner for the County of Maui where he now serves as its Chairman.
“I’ve had some eye opening experiences with Maui County over the last couple of years and I want to give the people a choice. My team and I are not here to convince the political elite that we’re the better candidate, our goal is speak to the general public of Maui County. We’re looking to engage registered and non-registered voters to be a part of the process to initiate true change which is the cornerstone of the MAUIWatch movement,” said Mamuad. Mamuad continued to say “The seeds of a mayoral run were planted over the past few weeks but my decision to actually pull my papers was made just three days ago. We’re a little behind the curve right now from a political point of view but I’m confident our grassroots approach will resonate with the community.”
This is Mamuad’s first campaign for elected office. He has strong views about the responsibilities imposed on elected officials. Mamuad believes in the simple idea that every Maui County resident deserves to be treated fairly by each other and by their government. He hopes to bring new energy and new attitudes about public service.
Mamuad believes Maui County needs:
-To empower its citizens and neighborhoods to build the community in which we aspire to live and work.
-To keep crime under control, so we are safe in our homes and on our streets.
-To clean up the blight and create pleasant, livable neighborhood communities.
-To increase our prosperity, not through increased taxation, but through the growth of our community.
-To bring our community together in common cause, building on the vitality of our diversity.
Mamuad, 37, has lived and worked on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. He currently resides with his wife Julie in Makawao while splitting his time between Maui and Lāna‘i for his role with PSAV Presentation Services.
Part of Alamaha Street in Kahului will be closed this Thursday night, June 5, while Department of Water Supply (DWS) personnel replace a broken water service line. Traffic on Alamaha will be limited to local traffic only between Hanakai Street and Hanamau Street from 5 p.m. until midnight. Motorists are advised to follow signage and traffic control, and use alternate routes.
In addition, water will be off for customers at 296 and 312 Alamaha Street from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Affected customers are advised to store water for the evening if needed. Customers should flush their waterlines for a short time Friday to ensure that no sediment has accumulated in their waterlines during the project. In addition, customers are requested to call the 24-hour service line (270-7633) only if a water emergency occurs.
In an unrelated incident, DWS crews shut down water service in another Kahului neighborhood earlier today after a water line broke. Customers in the affected area should have weater restored by this afternoon, according to DWS spokesperson Jacky Takakura.
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