East Hawaii News

Hawai’i County Council To Discuss $90K Grant to Battle Fire Ants

July 23, 2015, 9:14 AM HST
* Updated July 23, 9:50 AM
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Hawai’i County may be getting $90,000 from the state to help battle Little Fire Ants on the Big Island.

Hawai’i County Council plans to discuss a bill during their meeting on Friday at the West Hawai’i Civic Center that relates to a $90,000 grant from the state Department of Agriculture.

Bill 65 amends a county ordinance relating to the operating budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. The bill allows for the state-funded grant money to go towards the county Parks and Recreation Department’s Little Fire Ants Control program.

Jason Armstrong, public information officer for Hawai’i County Parks and Recreation, said if the bill passes the money would go towards the purchase of equipment and supplies to help battle the pests.

Little fire ants are one of the state’s most prominent invasive species. Although small in size, ranging about 1/16 of an inch long, the ants have a painful sting and are known to blind animals. They also reduce biodiversity on the island.

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The ants were first detected on the Big Island in 1999, and have spread to multiple oceanfront areas in Hilo, including Richardson Ocean Park and Leleiwi Beach Parks.

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Armstrong said the additional funding amount for $90,000 would, among other purchases, go towards buying a Pul Tank sprayer and a utility vehicle pick up truck.

Currently the county treats about 30 different parks on the east side of the island every six weeks.

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Hawai’i County Council will read bill 65 for the first time on Friday. The legislation will have to go through a first and second reading by the county council. If accepted by the council it will head to the Mayor’s office to be signed into law, or not.

Other items coming up in council this week include a discussion of two other bills relating to Hawai’i County’s landfills during a meeting of the County Council Environmental Management Committee on Thursday.

Bills 32 and 33, sponsored by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, amend county codes regarding the way residents throw away their rubbish.

Bill 32 requires the environmental management director to implement a partial pay-per-bag fee program for refuse to be landfilled, and allows for each household and business one 33-gallon bag of refuse per week to be landfilled without any bag fee.

However, according to an email sent to Big Island Now Wednesday evening, Wille plans to withdraw Bill 32.

Bill 33 would allow for residents to dispose of up to three 33 gallons of trash a day and establishes additional requirements and fees for commercial haulers regarding the disposal of compost or recyclables.

“We’re moving one step at a time so people don’t get overwhelmed,” Wille said about the legislation.

Hawai’i County Council Committee Agendas For Thursday

9 a.m.: Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development.

Requests a presentation by Director Martin Fletcher regarding Hawai’i Community College Palamanui University Center

11 a.m.: Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation

Bill 62- Initiates an amendment to Hawai’i County Charter relating to County Bands that removes language specifying that bandmasters and band employees are appointed and exempt from civil service laws and classifications.

 1 p.m.: Committee on Human Services and Social Services

Presentation and overview of services of the Office of Aging by County Executive on Aging by Dr. Kimo Alameda.

2 p.m. Committee on Planning

 Bill 69- Amends a part of the Hawai’i County Code relating to concurrency requirements. Provides that the council can waive water supply requirements for zoning amendments for applications with a minimum lot size of five acres on lands designated by the State Land Use Commission and the County General Plan for Agriculture or Rural purposes in areas without a public water system and where the Department of Water Supply has no plans to build a public water system.

3 p.m.: Committee on Environmental Management

Bill 32- Amends a portion of the Hawai’i County Code by adding a new article relating to the disposal of refuse in a manner that rewards those who separate their recyclables and compostable from landfill refuse- Bill would require the Environmental Management Director to implement a partial pay-per-bag fee program for refuse to be landfilled, which allows each household and business one 33-gallon bag of refuse per week to be landfilled without any bag fee.

Bill 33: Amends parts of the Hawai’i County Code relating to refuse which would prohibit the disposal of compostable or recyclable material at any County landfill or transfer station as of Jan. 1, 2018. Also establishes additional requirements and fees for commercial haulers with regard to the disposal of compostable or recyclable materials.

4 p.m. Committee on Finance

Res 215-15: Authorizes the payment of funds of a later fiscal year and of more than one fiscal year for a multi-year agreement with Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Authorizes the Mayor to enter into a five-year agreement at a cost of $1,500 per month to increase the County’s Internet bandwidth speed from 20 megabytes to 100 megabytes. The upgrade would increase the County’s cost by $180 per month.

Bill 37: Amends part of the Hawai’i County Code relating to the Code of Ethics. Will revise definition for agency and adds definition for immediate family. Amends a portion about fair treatment- adds provision for use of county property for County of Hawai’i workers’ union meetings and adds provision requiring council approval two-thirds vote for any county contract for goods and services with a county officer or employee or a business where an immediate family member of a county officer or employee has a controlling interest of the said business, amends conflicts of interest and revises provisions for the ability of county officers and employees to represent private interests in legal actions/proceedings against the county or appear on behalf of private interests before any agency of the county. Revises a portion about contracts and revises provisions for county agencies to enter into contracts when the value of the service or property exceeds $10,000 by removing existing exceptions allowed per the State Public Procurement Code and replacing with a provision that allows for such a contract if the council approves by two-thirds vote.

Bill 63: Amends an ordinance relating to public improvements and financing thereof for the fiscal year July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Adds the Public Works Kapi’olani Street Extension, Mohouli Street to Lanikaula Street project for $500,000 to the Capital budget. Funds for the project shall be provided from General Obligation Bonds, Capital Projects Fund- Fund Balance and/or Other Sources ($500,000). Funds would be used towards increased construction costs from unforeseen circumstances such as the discovery of unsuitable ground materials found while performing clearing, grubbing and subgrade preparation work.

Hawai’i County Council Meeting Agenda 9 a.m. Friday

Nomination of Kelly Ann Valenzuela to the Board of Appeals.

Res. 208-15- Transfers an appropriation out and from the designated fund account and credits same to a designated fund account to pay for portable restrooms at O’oma beach. Transfers $10,500 out and from the Clerk-Council Services Contingency Relief Account and credits the same to the Department of Parks and Recreation, Parks Maintenance Other Current Expenses, Rental/Lease of Equipment account (O’oma Portable Restrooms). Funds will be used to pay for one Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restroom and five standard portable restrooms for one year.

Res. 209-15: Requests the Hawai’i Chief Election Officer to use plain language such as the term “vote by mail” instead of “absentee voting” for the purpose of improving clarity to increase turnout of registered voters at elections.

Two resolutions will be transferring money out and from the designated fund account and credits same to a designated fund account for $5,000 each for expenses related to the Fourth of July festivities in Hilo.

Res. 212-15: Transfers $4,000 out and from the Clerk-Council Services Contingency Relief account and credits the same to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Prosecuting Attorney Other Current Expenses, Miscellaneous Contract Service account.

Res. 213-15 Transfers/appropriates $900 out and from the Clerk-Council Services-Contingency Relief account and credits the same to the Department of Public Works, Transfer to Highway fund, Miscellaneous Charges account (Traffic signs and markings/highway materials/roadway safety mirrors).

Res. 214-15 Transfers/appropriates $15,000 out and from the Clerk-Council Services- Contingency Relief account (Council District 6) and credits the same to the Department of Research and Development, Tourism Promotion, Miscellaneous Contract Services Account O Ka u Kakou, Inc. for community engagement and outreach activities that promote agricultural tourism.

Res. 216-15: Provides $150,000 to the Ka’u District and $50,000 each to Mauna Kea, Hamakua, and Kona Districts Ms. Eoff. Authorizes the Department of Research and Development to award funds to four soil and water conservation districts.

Res. 218-15: Authorizes the Office of the Mayor to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the state department of health for funds to provide complete streets training and capacity building for Hawai’i County staff.

Provides $7,500 from DOH to the planning Department for complete streets training to help local jurisdictions design, build and operate streets that enable safe access for all users.

Res. 219-15 Authorizes the Mayor’s Office to enter into an agreement with the state Department of the Attorney General to improve forensic services grant to the Hawai’i County Police Department. Provides $3,000 from the Department of the Attorney General’s Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division to the Public Department to pay for training for laboratory personnel, supplies and equipment.

Bills for ordinances first reading

Bill 60: amends a section of the Puna District Zone map of the Hawai’i County Code by changing the district classification from Agricultural- 20 acres, to Agricultural-5 acres at Ola’a Reservation Lots, Ola’a Puna. The Windward Planning Commission forwards its unfavorable recommendation for this proposed change of zone due to application deficiencies relating to minimum water concurrency requirements; Puna Community Development Plan policies discouraging further subdivision of larger agricultural lots through the variance process; General Plan policies requiring adequate water utilities to support an increase in density and substandard road conditions.

Bill 64: Amends ordinance relating to public improvements and financing therefore for the fiscal year July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Adds the Public Works Mamalahoa Highway Widening, Mud Lane to Mana Road Federal $640,000, county $142,000 and state $18,000 project for a total of $800,000 to the Capital Budget. Funds for the project shall be provided from Federal Grants Receivable ($640,000); General Obligation Bonds, Capital Projects Fund- Fund Balance and/or Other Sources ($142,000) and State Capital Improvement Funds ($18,000). Funds would be used to pay for consultant design services.

Bill 65: Little Fire Ants legislation.

Bill 66: Amends ordinance the operating budget for the county for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. Appropriates revenues in the Federal Grants-Department of Health Complete Streets account $7,500 and appropriates the same to the DOH Complete Streets Federal account. Funds would be used for complete streets training to help local jurisdictions design, build and operate streets that enable safe access for all users.

Bill 67: Amends ordinance the operating budget for the county for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. Appropriates revenues in the Federal Grants-improve Forensic Services account, $3,000, and appropriates the same to the Improve Forensic Services account, funds would be used to pay for training for laboratory personnel, supplies and equipment.

Bill 68: Amends ordinance and appropriates revenues in the Federal Grants, Federal Emergency Management Agency Alternative Projects, Iselle account ($122,710.05) and appropriates the same to the FEMA Alternate Projects Iselle account. Funds would be used to pay for expenditures incurred during Tropical Storm Iselle.

Bill 70: Amends ordinance relating to public improvements and financing therefore for the fiscal year July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. Adds the Land Acquisition project for $1 million to the Capital Budget. Funds for the project shall be provided from the General Obligation Bonds, Capital Projects Fund- Fund Balance and/or Other Sources. Funds would be used to purchase real property to resolve an inadvertent approval of a consolidation and subdivision application by the planning department that occurred without first obtaining a Conservation District Use Permit from the Department of Land and Natural resources.

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