Waimea Town Meeting to ‘Dig Into Devilish Details’

April 25, 2019, 11:53 AM HST (Updated April 25, 2019, 11:53 AM)
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The Waimea Community Association’s Thursday, May 2, 2019, Town Meeting at 5:15 p.m. in Waimea School Cafeteria will dig into the “devilish details” of the just-concluded 2019 Hawai‘i State Legislature, and then take an inside look at the current Hawai‘i County Council, including their focus on rebuilding after a series of severe natural disasters impacted the island.

The meeting will also cover priority projects and take a deeper look at the Mayor Harry Kim’s proposed $573 million county budget.

Providing the legislative review will be Rep. David Tarnas, who just hours earlier will have participated in “sine die”—the official conclusion of session at the Capitol. He will review accomplishments, disappointments and some of the background, including what to expect in terms of Gov. David Ige’s review and approval process.

Then, Council Chair Aaron Chung will share personal insights on the now five-month old county legislative body, providing a glimpse of “the personnel capital” of council members.

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“I’m very impressed by the quality and diversity of skills and life experiences that this council embodies; it ensures that a balanced perspective is brought to bear as we work through addressing our county’s needs, challenges and aspirations,” said Chair Chung.

Then, Chair Chung and North-South Kohala Councilman Dr. Tim Richards will dig into the mayor’s proposed county budget, which reflects a significant increase in proposed spending—going from the current fiscal year budget of $518 million to a proposed $573 million. The budget includes an increase in the General Excise Tax and other fees.

The meeting will also explore council priorities regarding planning, climate change, public safety, housing, parks and recreation, senior services, environmental management and economic development, including agriculture, visitor industry and employment diversification.

They also will discuss plans and timing for the one-time $60 million allocation authorized by the 2019 State Legislature for emergency recovery.

The discussions will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

This agenda reflects a change, as the meeting was previously planned to include an introduction of the proposed Nakahili Workforce Family Agricultural Community—an innovative 1,200-unit development on property in Waikoloa near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway with Waikoloa Road, south of Waimea and mauka of Waikoloa Village.

Explaining the postponement of the Nakahili presentation, Project Manager Greg Brown said, “In working with the mayor’s office, they have suggested some alternate ways to facilitate the project with lower impacts. This could help simplify and expedite the process. We will make our final decisions on this over the next few months with further meetings. Through this, we will then have a clear path to present on how we intend to develop the property.”

As usual at WCA Town Meetings, Community Policing will provide a public safety report.

WCA’s spotlighted not-for-profit organization for the May Town Meeting will be Waimea Trails and Greenways—a now a 20-plus year community dream to provide a safe pedestrian and bike-friendly alternate path along Waikoloa Stream. Over the years, a core group of community volunteers has met almost every Monday to discuss the maintenance of the trail and plan with county, state and federal agencies, planners, landowners and interested friends to bring this to reality.

Chair ClemLam, AIA, will provide the update.

As always at town meetings, attendees will be asked consider making a tax-deductible donation to the spotlighted organization.

Steaming hot coffee will be provided, compliments of Starbucks, and cookies or a light snack will be donated by WCA Board members.

For more information, go online, email Patti Cook at [email protected] or call (808) 937-2833.

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