Council gives first approval for police station bond funds

WAILUKU – The Maui County Council gave first-reading approval Friday for $3.25 million in additional bond funding for the new Kihei police station over the objections of two council members who questioned the need for and the amount of the money.

Council Member Mike White, who also chairs the council Budget and Finance Committee and voted against the measure, said he did not feel that the full $3.25 million should be approved, noting that some of the items in the request were not needed to complete the station, which is currently under construction.

Council Member Riki Hokama, who also voted against the request, said he feels that the council has adequately funded capital improvement projects, including the police station.

Some council members and Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration say the project is “under budget” because the council approved $37 million for the police station, which came in for bid at $27 million.

Hokama called that line of thinking just a “perception.” With the additional $3.25 million requested, Hokama said that in his eyes the project is “over budget.”

The $3.25 million is being requested to cover costs of change orders, additional equipment and upgrades that were not foreseen when the project first went out to bid. This includes data and security revisions, such as bullet-resistant windows and phone system upgrades, and additional equipment and construction, including a radio tower. The additional funds also will go for a canine shelter and training pad.

Council members who voted in favor of the bill were: Stacy Crivello, Elle Cochran, Don Couch, Don Guzman, Mike Victorino, Robert Carroll and Chairwoman Gladys Baisa.

The bill still requires second-reading approval by the council.

The Budget and Finance Committee wrangled with the police station request at two meetings. The panel deferred the item twice to allow the committee more time to gather information from police about the request.

On Friday, council members agreed to discharge the item from the committee and to bring it to the full council for a vote. White noted that the matter was time sensitive with building schedules to keep. That was why the measure was brought forward for consideration by the full council, bypassing the committee’s recommendation. Police officials have said that the station is scheduled to open Oct. 1.

When his committee first heard the proposal, White said that there were “no supporting documents” to back the request, leaving the committee unable to evaluate the request. He commended the Police Department for promptly coming back with responses to council members’ questions.

Couch, who holds the South Maui seat, said that he appreciated White’s efforts to examine the proposal and to move the bill along quickly. He said he could support the amount the department is requesting, noting that the station is “under budget” with the lower bid.

While he agrees with White that they have to be prudent about money, Victorino felt that the Kihei community has waited for a long time for the station and threw his support behind the bill.

Budget Director Sandy Baz has said in the past that the $3.25 million wasn’t technically additional funding because the County Council had approved $37 million for the project.

In other council matters Friday, members approved various nominees to the county’s boards, committees and commissions for terms beginning on April 1 and expiring on March 31, 2018, unless otherwise indicated:

* Affirmative Action Advisory Council – Dorothy Buck, Anthony Arakaki.

* Animal Control Board – Anthony Vargas Jr. (reappointment), Lawrence Winer, Larry Shapiro.

* Board of Ethics – Abel Kahoohanohano Jr., Herman Nascimento.

* Board of Variances and Appeals – Chadwick Fukunaga, Howard Seigo Kameaaloha Kihune.

* Board of Water Supply – Cyrus Kodani (reappointment), Thomas Watanabe.

* Civil Service Commission – Alice Lee (reappointment).

* Commission on Children and Youth – Noel Ching-Johnson, James Wisthoff, Ciara Rodrigues.

* Commission on the Culture and the Arts – Oliver Caberto, Jamie Clark.

* Commission on Naming Streets, Parks, and Facilities – Kala’e Tangonan.

* Cost of Government Commission – Gregory Evans (reappointment for term expiring on March 31, 2015), Sunny Gutierrez (for a term expiring on March 31, 2015), Adrienne Kawano (for a term expiring on March 31, 2015).

* Council on Aging – Dionne Phillips, Rosie Poree-Hogin, Tania Joao.

* Fire and Public Safety Commission – Robyne Nishida Nakao.

* Hana Advisory Committee – Scott Paul Crawford (reappointment), Douglas Mardfin (for term expiring March 31, 2017).

* Lanai Planning Commission – Beverly Zigmond, Kelli Gima, Bradford Oshiro.

* Liquor Control Adjudication Board – Donald Fujii, Wayne Pagan.

* Liquor Control Commission – Darren Lopez, Dana Souza.

* Maui County Cultural Resources Commission – Janet Six, Owana Salazar.

* Maui County Outdoor Lighting Standards Committee – Michael Maberry, Andrew de la Cruz.

* Maui Planning Commission – Sandra Duvauchelle, Jason Medeiros.

* Molokai Planning Commission – Sherry Tancayo (reappointment), William Buchanan III.

* Police Commission – Kevin Tanaka, Howard Hanzawa.

* Real Property Tax Review Board – Brent Johnson.

* Salary Commission – Joseph Talon, Gail Kanetani.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at