Some highlights, 2000-2008

The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.

Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times

In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:

  • 3% cap on increase in value per year
  • Higher exemption based on % of value
  • Improved Homeowner Dedication program

Also proposed were revisions to ag tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:

  • Created and proposed funding reserves
  • Created “Rainy Day” Fund
  • Disaster & Emergency Fund
    We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.

In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.

Environment

HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.

Recyling

  • Hired first Recycling Coordinator
  • Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
  • Established at 19 transfer stations

Reuse Center

  • First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003

Hilo Landfill

  • Increased life by up to 10 years

Scrap metal

  • Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles

Programs & Initiatives

2005 General Plan

  • Included “important ag lands” designation
  • Community Development Plans

Free bus rides

An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things

Aging and Disability Resource Center

First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility

Community Development Plans

Initiated & adopted

  • Kona (2005-2008)
  • Puna (2006-2008)
  • North and South Kohala (2007-2008)

Shoreline public access

  • Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
  • Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
  • Kohanaiki compromise, new park
  • Donation of Hakalau Mill site
  • Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
  • Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
  • Waipio Ranger Program

“Concurrency”

Concept introduced in 2004

Fiber optic

upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic

Waste to Energy

Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.

Public Safety

During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:

  • Police – Added 143 new positions
  • Fire – Added 141 new positions

Buildings

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
  • Aupuni Center (1)
  • Pahoa Fire Station (2)
  • Pahoa Police Station (4)
  • County Building Renovation (2)
  • East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
  • Makalei Fire Station Site (6)

Roads

  • Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
  • Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
  • Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
  • Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
  • Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
  • Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
  • Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
  • Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
  • Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
  • Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
  • Puako Escape Route (1)
  • Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)

Parks

  • Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
  • Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
  • Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
  • Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
  • Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)

Other (Managed by DWS)

  • HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
  • Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
  • Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)

Infrastructure Key

  1. Planned, funded, construction complete
  2. Planned, funded, construction started
  3. Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
  4. Site identified and acquired, planning phase
  5. Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
  6. Site identified, in negotiations