VIDEO: Maui Gains Perspective at HSAC Event
By Wendy Osher
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xGzN0muJ6Y /] County authorities were able to gain perspective on issues faced by counterparts on neighboring islands during the annual Hawai’i State Association of Counties conference held last week on Maui.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said the gathering was helpful in providing insight on how each county approaches issues such as union contracts, wastewater systems, and infrastructure. “We all have a little bit different circumstances , and those different circumstances require each county to address situations a little bit differently,” said Mayor Arakawa.
“How we’re going to be able to downsize each segment, or how we’re going to be able to expand in different areas–are very critical in the decision making of each county,” said Mayor Arakawa. While some counties are suffering and downsizing budgets or releasing employees, he said, Maui and Kaua’i are faring well compared to the rest of the state.
Arakawa said Maui authorities are specifically dealing with how to balance the budget while address issues associated with sewage systems, injection wells, infrastructure and community plans.
“These are all important things and at the end of the day, how are we going to balance our budget,” said Mayor Arakawa. “We have to be very cognizant of the fact that we can’t raise taxes too high because our population is already suffering from the economic downturn that has been here for the last four years.”
One of the major issues that surfaced was how each county addresses union contracts. Conference attendees also discussed how to deal with environmental policy, social media, and alternative energy.
“These kinds of discussions were very fruitful for all of us. Getting to know what all of the other islands are doing, was important,” said Mayor Arakawa.