Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most recently-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: What’s the Wailuku/Kahului dividing line on Kaahumanu Avenue, and the North/South Kihei dividing line on Kihei Road? In the ’70s, we thought the latter was Mokulele Highway.
A: That’s a very good question. It used to be that there were sufficient undeveloped lands between populated areas that a generalized description would work. However, as towns have grown, this isn’t so clear. The Maui County Charter outlines the Maui County Council voting districts for Wailuku and Kahului, which are demarcated by Kahului Beach Road, Mahalani Street and Waiale Road. And according to road maps, the line between North and South Kihei Road is drawn at the intersection of South Kihei Road and Piilani Highway near where the old Suda Store was located. After that you’re headed toward Ma’alaea along North Kihei Road.
Dear Mr. Mayor:
Q: Savannah, Georgia is one city where a police officer is assigned to be a homeless liaison, the way Maui Police Department has School Resource Officers to build relationships with schools and students. Has there been any discussion of a similar position in MPD?
A: Maui Police Department’s Community Police Officers (CPOs) are an excellent resource for both the public and for our County departments and frequently provide assistance with homeless individuals. The officers, who are assigned to different districts in Maui County, attend community meetings and town hall meetings and receive specialized training for assessing and responding to the myriad issues our communities face.
Aloha Mayor Arakawa,
Q: Why does there seem to be so little correlation between assessed values of real property and what people are asking? I looked at a website that showed asking prices and appraised values. Most properties seemed grossly undervalued. Wouldn’t more accurate appraisals substantially increase income to the county?
A: Asking prices are not used to value properties for tax assessment purposes, because they are not consummated sales and only reflect the price the seller desires. And typically, asking prices are higher than actual sales prices. Another consideration is that higher values do not necessarily equate to more income for the County of Maui because taxes are composed of two parts: values, which are established annually and are certified on April 19th, and tax rates, which are established by the County Council annually on or before June 20th. If you study the tax rate history of Maui County, which can be found at www.realpropertyhonolulu.com under the reports link, you will see that real property tax rates have fluctuated depending upon values and the financial needs of County Government. The 2015 assessed values that were recently mailed to Maui County property owners were derived using arm’s length sales that recorded from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 for a valuation date (for assessment purposes) of January 1, 2015. This means that a lag of approximately 12 months occurs between the time the values are set and owners receive their bill on July 20th. Much of this lag is necessary because it allows for an appeal period and for public input regarding tax rates in the County budget. I would like to point out that our Real Property Assessment Division (RPAD) is tasked with complying with mass appraisal industry standards set by the International Association of Assessing Officers. After completing ratio studies comparing assessed values with the sales prices used for valuation purposes, our RPAD consistently passes with flying colors. One study of 1,924 improved single family sales indicated an average assessment-to-sale price ratio of 98.89%.
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.