VIDEO: Maui Lawmakers React to Mayor’s Address

February 24, 2012, 1:55 PM HST · Updated February 27, 4:43 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Dignitaries on Maui responded with receptive comments following the mayor’s 2012 State of the County Address, delivered this morning in the Council Chambers.

“I’m very encouraged of his approach to county projects, county operations; and I’m wishing him a lot of success because if we are able to do this together, then of course, the County of Maui becomes a much better place for all of our people on all of the islands,” said Council Member Riki Hokama of Lanai.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa speaks with Council Members Mike White and Joe Pontanilla following the deliver of his 2012 State of the County Address. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hokama said he appreciated the mayor’s recap of his administration’s accomplishments over the past year and is encouraged by some of the initiatives that the mayor plans to put forth in the upcoming budget.

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Arakawa’s accomplishments included the around-the-clock opening of the Paia mini-bypass, eliminating Furlough Fridays, and supporting renewable energy projects.

Among the mayor’s initiatives is to consolidate resources, by acquiring more than 100 acres to create a new Central Maui County Baseyard.  The facility, he said, would enable the county to safely store vehicles, and save money by sharing garage space, tools and maintenance staff.

Council Member Riki Hokama. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“I believe the mayor’s comments regarding the consolidation of operations–some of the equipment that the department uses–as far as finding some type of consolidation and ability to share resources, is an area of efficiency that I would be very supportive of the mayor’s efforts.  I believe that is the way we need to go in the future,” said Hokama.

Mayor Arakawa said the facility would also enable the county to move at least one baseyard out of a tsunami zone and allow departments to share other resources.

The mayor also urged assistance from the state legislature in backing a bill that addresses infrastructure tax credits and production credits to support the establishment of a film industry on Maui.

Council Member Michael Victorino. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“I think what’s happening is, is that there’s a lot of support for extending the production tax credit; but there’s a little bit of debate going on over whether or not we should do the infrastructure tax credit,” said State Rep. Gil Keith Agaran of Maui who was in attendance.

“I agree with the mayor that unless you have the infrastructure tax credit, you’re not going to develop a film industry here that doesn’t just treat Hawaii as just a location–just outdoor shots.  We need to have the kind of work where you can do the entire film here–interiors, exteriors–and I think that’s something that’s fairly important,” said Rep. Keith-Agaran.

Rep. Keith-Agaran said it is his hope that the legislature comes up with at least some plan to do an infrastructure tax credit.

Rep. Gil Keith Agaran. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor thanked Senate President Shan Tsutsui for his work in trying to acquire acreage in Central Maui for a regional park, saying the current lack of park space will continue to be a problem until the we can get the Central Maui Regional Park system up and running.  The item Rep. Keith Agaran said, is “something that both the Senate President and myself are very supportive of.”

At the council level, Member Michael Victorino of Wailuku said he like the idea of expanding parks, and investing in wastewater infrastructure, but he said, “our economy is still struggling along.” He said, ” to create jobs is so important.”

“I believe that we can work together for the next few years and get these challenges accomplished…  I can support the mayor and the administration; and we in the council, I think, work hard to make sure these things come to fruition,” said Council Member Victorino.

“I like the way that the mayor is reaching out to everyone that can contribute,” said Rep. Keith-Agaran, “because I think he’s looking at this as we’re working together as a community.”

The complete text and video of the mayor’s address will available at the following direct LINK.

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