County impacted as Legislature gets set to adjourn

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Lack of transparency cause of missteps with post office demolition

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Input encouraged on financial plan

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Unreasonable actions at Legislature could hurt county

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2017 Legacy Farmers

Wonderful to help celebrate the 2017 Maui Legacy Farmers. The honorees were Doug MacCluer, Pat Iwamoto (holding photo of late father Dr. Wilbert Yee), Peter Baldwin and Richard “Dick” Cameron. The four Maui farmers were honored for their contributions to agriculture on the island. MacCluer worked with Maui Pineapple Co. and then “helped save pineapple” when the company closed. He is part of the team that formed Maui Pine’s successor, Hali’imaile Pineapple Co., which produces Maui Gold pineapples. Dr. Yee was an optometrist who became famous for growing mangoes in Kihei. Baldwin is a member of the Paniolo Hall of Fame, former owner of Haleakala Dairy and founder and president of Pi’iholo Ranch. Cameron grew up in the sugar cane business on the Big Island and Kauai before serving as manager of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. from 1982 to 1997.

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Baldwin Avenue Rehabilitation Project, Phase II to Begin

WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai‘i – The County of Maui Department of Public Works announced that the Baldwin Avenue Rehabilitation Project, Phase II, is scheduled to start on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

The project includes pavement reconstruction of Baldwin Avenue between Hana Highway and Haliimaile Road with an asphalt concrete, asphalt-treated base and aggregate base course pavement section. Other work includes cold planing and resurfacing of existing pavement, installation of pavement striping and markers, installation of signs, reconstruction of the concrete sidewalk and other incidental work.

The contractor, HI-BUILT, LLC, plans to start with sidewalk reconstruction beginning next week until May 20, 2017, to be followed by roadway reconstruction. The contract duration for the entire project is 180 working days, with an anticipated completion by the end of November 2017.

Cost for the project, which is federally funded, is $3,980,409. For more information, contact the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, at ph. (808) 270-7745.

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FY 2018 Council Budget Hearing Dates

Once again, the Maui County Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will hold evening meetings throughout Maui County in April to receive community input on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

There are many priorities throughout the community, but limited resources.  Therefore, it is important for you to inform the Council on how tax dollars should be spent, as after all, it is your money.

The meetings are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. except for on Molokai which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

The Budget and Finance Committee at the Paia Community Center hearing from members of the public on the FY 2014 Budget.

District meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, March 30, Kihei Community Center, Main Hall, 303 East Lipoa Street, Kihei, Maui – South Maui District.
  • Monday, April 3, Lanai Senior Center, 309 7th Street, Lanai City, Lanai – Lanai District
  • Wednesday, April 5, Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Social Hall, 91 Pukalani Street, Pukalani, Maui – Upcountry District (Pukalani-Kula-Ulupalakua).
  • Thursday, April 6, Paia Community Center, Social Hall, Hana Highway, Paia – Makawao-Haiku-Paia District.
  • Monday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m., Mitchell Pauole Center, Kaunakakai, Molokai – Molokai District.
  • Monday, April 13, Helene Hall, Social Hall, 150 Keawa Place, Hana, Maui – East Maui District (Hana-Keanae-Kailua).
  • Monday, April 17, Lahaina Civic Center, Social Hall, 1840 Honoapiilani Highway, Lahaina, Maui – West Maui District
  • Tuesday, April 18, Council Chamber, Council Public Hearing – 200 S. High Street, Wailuku – Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu District.

The agenda for the meetings will be officially published on the county website on March 24, the same day the council receives the mayor’s budget proposal. The committee will also conduct budget meetings in the Council Chamber in Wailuku on most days beginning March 30 through May 1.

The budget ordinance is the county’s financial plan for the fiscal year, which begins July 1. It determines how much money each department receives to carry out county services such as fire and police protection, public transportation, water supply and garbage collection, and how much is collected from the public through taxes and fees.

The budget also sets forth the amount of grant money offered to community organizations and establishes funding levels for capital improvements projects, such as road repaving, park improvements and water system upgrades.

For more information on meeting dates, you can visit

As always, if you have any feedback on pending or future legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me through e-mail at or by phone at 270-5507.

With aloha,


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Abandoned Vehicles Prevention – Junk Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program

Abandoned Vehicles Prevention –Junk Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program

The County of Maui Department of Environmental Management launches the Abandoned Vehicles Prevention –Junk Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program on March 1, 2017.

Residents will be able to dispose of one vehicle per year at no charge. Residents will be required to register their old vehicles as “Permanently Junked” and then deliver them
to the permitted metals recycling facility in Puunene. Participants will be asked to complete a short survey to help track the success of the program.

Vehicles must be eligible and owners will be required to present proper documents to participate in the program. Residents should refer to the website to review eligibility criteria and instructions, and to download the proper forms.

This program is funded through the Highway Beautification and Abandoned Vehicles Fund, which is a portion of annual vehicle registration fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the DMVL?
A: DMVL has a central office at the Maui Mall and several satellite locations. Check their website for more information:‐Vehicle‐Licensing

Q: Where is the metals recycling facility?
A: Hammerhead Metals Recycling is the sole permitted facility on the island of Maui and is located in the Central Maui Baseyard at 2000 Mokulele Hwy., Puunene, HI 96784. Check their website for more information:

Q: My car is a commercial vehicle used for our business. Is it eligible?
A: NO, this program is for Maui County residents only.

Q: I only live here for part of the year, but my car is registered on Maui. Is it eligible?
A: YES, if your car is not used for business and is registered in Maui County.

Q: My car doesn’t run and has missing parts. Can I still participate in the program?
A: YES, after you register it as “Permanently Junked,” have it towed to the metals recycling facility. You must be present to submit all proper documentation.

Q: I don’t have the title anymore, but it was registered in my name. What should I do to participate?
A: You can get a duplicate certificate of title at the DMVL and then register it as “Permanently Junked.”

Q: I have the signed title, but it is not officially registered to me yet. Can I participate in this program?
A: You must first register the vehicle as “Permanently Junked” in your name with the DMVL.

Q: Will the County provide towing services?
A: No, owners are responsible to deliver their vehicles to Hammerhead themselves.

Q: Do I have to clean out my car before I take it to the metals recycling facility.
A: YES. Vehicles with “excessive waste” may be refused by the facility, at their discretion.

Q: How many tires are included in this program?
A: Up to 5 tires mounted on or within the vehicle will be accepted. More than that will be refused or you will be charged for them.

Q: Will I be charged anything at the metals recycling facility?
A: NO, if you meet all the eligibility criteria and you have all the proper documentation. If eligibility criteria are not met, or if you do not have all the proper documentation, you may be charged.

Q: What if my vehicle is refused at the facility? Can I just leave it behind?
A: NO. Vehicles abandoned at the site that will be tagged, ticketed, and charged as an abandoned vehicle, per usual procedures.

Q: What if I get to the facility and I don’t meet the criteria?
A: The facility may charge you to dispose of the vehicle or refuse it. If the vehicle is refused, you are responsible to remove it from the facility and put it back on private property.

Q: I live on Molokai. What am I supposed to do with my old car?
A: You should deliver your vehicle to the Molokai Metals Facility at the Molokai Landfill. They will receive your car at no charge during regular landfill hours. Call Refrigerant Recycling, Inc. for requirements and instructions at 888‐682‐1155.

Q: I live on Lanai. What am I supposed to do with my old car?
A: The County holds periodic collection events for a limited number of cars. Please contact the Office of Abandoned Vehicles and Metals for more information.

Q: Where can I get more information?

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Community support is critical in moving state bills

Published in The Maui News, February 26, 2017

In last Sunday’s column, I made a case for the counties to receive a greater share of the transient accommodations tax, also known as TAT or hotel room tax, to cover the increasing costs of services for environmental protection, police, fire, roads and parks maintenance.

I continue to urge Maui County residents to contact their state legislators to support both House Bill 317 and Senate Bill 1290, which would increase the counties’ share of the TAT. I also urge all to strongly oppose HB 1586, which would phase out and eliminate the counties’ share of the tax.


Community support is critical at this juncture, as March 9 is an important legislative deadline for the first crossover. This is when a bill must pass final reading from its committee and move, or “cross over,” to the other chamber. Successful House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

The majority of bills introduced at the start of the legislative session will not make it past this point and will not be considered any further.

Aside from TAT bills, other notable bills I continue to track include HB 1410, which originally proposed transferring the regulation of ambulance services from the state Department of Health to the counties and allocate a portion of the TAT for ambulance regulation and operation.

This measure has since been turned into a pilot program, but the concept of using TAT funds instead of the state fully funding ambulance services is still being proposed. The current structure and relationship between the county and state with Emergency Medical Services has worked well and should not be altered. This is why I urge our legislators to defer HB 1410.

Another bill I’m monitoring is HB 1359, which would allow each county to enact and enforce ordinances to prevent, investigate, control or eradicate invasive species on any public or private premises.

Currently, the county works closely with the Maui Invasive Species Committee in the fight against invasive threats to native plants and the fragile ecosystem. At times, MISC is hampered by its inability to access private property where invasive species are reported. Providing this access, following necessary notice requirements, will help avoid costly and time-consuming processes, such as securing warrants through the courts to gain property access.

This tool is critical for counties to be true partners in the fight against invasive species and to fulfill the broader goal of preserving the environment for future generations. I urge support for HB 1359.

I encourage you to continue monitoring what is taking place at the state Legislature. Go to for copies of testimony I’ve submitted and you can easily track state bills at

In other news, the process of reviewing the Molokai Community Plan has begun. The Planning Committee, chaired by County Council Member Kelly King, is working on a timeline to gather community input and has proposed the review to be completed by the end of 2017.

The Molokai Community Plan is the second of nine plans the council needs to review.

Public input is critical at these community plan meetings and is encouraged.

For more information on council and committee meetings, visit

* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He 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 for more information.

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State wants to keep TAT at expense of counties

Chair’s 3 Minutes
Published in The Maui News, Feb. 19, 2017
By Mike White

On Tuesday, the state House Committee on Tourism advanced House Bill 1586, which phases out the counties’ share of the transient accommodations tax, also known as the TAT or hotel tax. County officials were present and expressed strong opposition to the measure, yet the state still wants to consider keeping all of the TAT. This measure would help the state balance its budget, of course, but at an enormous cost to county taxpayers.

In short, the state’s plan is unfair and unacceptable.

Every hotel or lodging transaction includes a 9.25 percent hotel tax surcharge collected by the state to compensate for a visitor’s use of state and county services. Counties are particularly impacted because they provide important services upon which visitors most depend. These include environmental protection; police, fire and ocean safety; development and upkeep of most roads; and parks maintenance.

Without a fair share of TAT, the burden of providing county services to visitors would increasingly be transferred to our local residents, even though visitors have already been taxed. This is already happening. From 2007 to 2015, counties have incurred over $170 million in cost increases in services for fire, police and parks, but have only seen an additional $2.2 million from TAT revenues. This is while the state took an increased portion of $196.6 million.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority projects an annual increase in the visitor population with more TAT monies raised each year. Additional visitors would mean an increased demand for county services, resulting in higher operational costs.

Front Street Lahaina

A more rational approach would be to increase the distribution of TAT funds using a percentage-based formula. But instead, the Legislature last year continued the cap on the counties’ share at $103 million. And now it wants to eliminate the counties’ share altogether.

The total TAT collected in 2010 was $244 million. In 2015, it grew to $435 million. Even if another million visitors arrive in Hawaii, the counties will still receive a fixed amount for reimbursements — unless the Legislature takes action to give the counties a more equitable share.

Maui County generates approximately $130 million in TAT revenue, but under the state’s current cap we receive only $23.5 million in return. If this amount is further reduced, the county will face major budgetary shortfalls. The county will likely have to raise real property tax or reduce services. This could range from reducing lifeguards at public beaches, cutbacks to youth and senior programs, or other programs our residents depend upon. Neither are attractive options, but there is a better way.

At the same hearing on Tuesday, the committee passed House Bill 317, which is included in the Hawaii State Association of Counties package. The bill would remove the arbitrarily placed cap and implement a 55-45 percent split of the remaining TAT revenue, after specific appropriations, between the state and counties.

That measure is supported by a comprehensive study on the history and purpose of the TAT by a working group created by the Legislature in 2015. The report found that counties are responsible for 54 percent of net expenditures directly supporting tourism, while the state provides 46 percent.

The working group has made its recommendation, yet some legislators chose to ignore the report they asked for.

This measure also follows past practices. The counties previously received 45 percent of TAT revenues until the state reallocated the fund to help balance its budget during the economic downturn in 2009.

I urge the community to be educated and more vigilant this session — our hard-earned dollars are on the line. The counties indeed deserve more.

We will continue to closely monitor bills in the state Legislature and hope you can help urge our state legislators to return an equitable share of the TAT to the counties. It is not fair for you to be paying for visitors’ expenses after they have already paid their fair share.

Go to for copies of testimony submitted.

* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He 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 for more information.

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