VIDEO: Council Chair Mateo–Hope offered in County Address

February 25, 2011, 1:00 PM HST · Updated February 25, 3:37 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Council Chair Danny Mateo of Molokai responded to Mayor Alan Arakawa’s State of the County Address today saying the speech offered hope to the people of Maui.

“I think the underlying essence had several messages,” said Mateo.  “The Mayor talked about the need to work together as a community, as a council, as the other legislative teams.  We’re all partners in this need to move our county forward,” said Mateo.

In his address, Arakawa quoted Albert Einstein who said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for the future.”

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“That clearly represents this administration’s as well as the county council’s need to move this County forward,” said Mateo.  “We’ve learned from past mistakes, we need to get over it, move on, and now address the larger issues that we’re still confronted with.”

Plans Call for Early Elimination of Furlough Fridays:

Council Chair Danny Mateo. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, who expressed interest in bringing an early end to furlough Fridays, today said has already taken the first step by seeking funding from the council.

“The county is no longer in a situation where we need furlough days and it has for too long limited the public’s access to our services,” said Arakawa.  “Our analysis has shown that we are not saving as much money as was once thought,” he said.

Council Chair Mateo said the plan is consistent with what other counties, but could not comment on the elimination of furloughs without further details on the county’s financial stability.

“The City and County of Honolulu, Mayor Carlisle, also talked about eliminating part of their furlough.  So I think it’s pretty consistent with the messages that the Council of Mayors have been sharing with their communities,” said Mateo.

“For myself personally, I would need to wait until we get certified numbers, so we actually have a better idea of the financial strengths of this County–and that will not be available until a couple of months more,” said Mateo.

Cost Analysis Initiated for Upcountry Water Meters:

The long-standing issue of Maui’s Upcountry Water Meter Waiting List was also discussed in the Mayor’s State of the County Address.

“Maui has the water, now we need the method,” said Arakawa, who initiated an internal engineering analysis to identify the costs necessary to upgrade the piping system.

Arakawa said, “It is only after we obtain that crucial piece of information that we can figure out how to get water to people who need it, and in what amount.”

Council Chair Mateo responded with cautious optimism saying, “I think it was a well intended statement; realistically, it’s more difficult than that.  I don’t think it’s going to be an easy process.  It’s been an issue for decades.”

Mateo called the Mayor’s plans to analyze costs “prudent.”  He further stated, “It all gets back to the same thing–money–how much money is available, who’s going to pay for the increased improvements, and whether or not our people can in fact stand another jerk in increased in-fees,” said Mateo.

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