Ask The Mayor

Q: I want to hang a few signs and a banner on my business windows. How many can I hang? Also, what sizes are allowed, and how much does the permit cost?

A: There is a wide variety of permissible signs and banners, as allowed in Chapter 16.13 of the Maui County Code. The sizes for certain types of signs are limited by the building setbacks and frontages, as well as by zoning districts. Individual sign permits have a $55 filing fee. Banners or promotional signs may be hung for up to 14 days and require a $25 filing fee. For multi-tenant business buildings, a comprehensive signage plan is required. To view the sign ordinance online, go to, then select Laws/Resolutions and Maui County Code – Chapter 16.13. For more information, you may contact the Planning Department at 270-7735 or visit the planning director’s office at the Kalana Pakui building, 250 South High St. in Wailuku (adjacent to the county building).

Q: I heard you mention the county’s bond ratings during your State of the County address the other night. What exactly are those, and what do they mean for me as a taxpayer?

A: Just as with other municipalities, the County of Maui issues government bonds for sale to the public to raise capital for projects. These bonds are rated by bond rating agencies based on the county’s overall fiscal well-being, which results in the equivalent of a credit score. For the first time in history, Maui County has the highest bond rating in the state, just under a AAA rating. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings give the County of Maui a AA+ bond rating, while Moody’s Investor Service has bestowed a Aa1 rating. These excellent ratings allow the county to issue bonds at a much lower interest rate, which in turn saves the county and the taxpayers millions of dollars in interest costs.

Q: Are there any dog parks on the island where I can let my dog run free?

A: Yes, the county will be holding a grand opening soon at Central Maui’s first leash-free park in Keopuolani Park. There is a dog park in Wailea, which is managed in partnership with the county and the Wailea Community Association. And another dog park is currently being built in Makawao through the efforts of both the county and community volunteers and donors.

Ask The Mayor

Q: My elderly uncle is a veteran on a fixed income. His property tax bill is due soon, but he’s having a hard time since the bill went up and he’s living on a pension. Is there any way he can get some help paying his property taxes?

A: There are several property tax relief programs your uncle may be eligible for, and it would be best to apply for any applicable exemptions or credits right away since they would be applied to his property tax bill as soon as legally possible. Keep in mind that the second half of the real property tax bill is due Wednesday; there would be no relief on the current tax bill.

For the future, your uncle would benefit by inquiring about the county tax relief programs. A new exemption was passed last year allowing totally disabled veterans or their surviving spouse to pay a real property tax of $150 per year. Hopefully, your uncle is already receiving the homeowner’s exemption, which reduces property taxes for residents who own and live in their primary residence and file a Hawaii resident individual income tax return. If your uncle already receives the homeowner’s exemption, he also may qualify for the income-based circuit breaker tax credit if his property taxes exceed 2 percent of his adjusted gross income.

Applications for the homeowner’s exemption are due by Dec. 31 preceding the tax year being claimed. Circuit breaker applications are received between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 of each year and are credited to the property the following tax year. Tax filings and other documentation will be required for the various discount programs.

For more information and to download forms and instructions, visit For more information on tax relief programs, call the Real Property Tax Division at 270-7697.

Q: My house is located on Kula Highway, but even though the road seems wide enough, we do not have automated trash pickup. How can I find out if we will ever get automated service?

A: The Solid Waste Division has converted roughly 80 percent of the residents receiving curbside trash pickup to automated service. There are some areas Upcountry that will be automated within the next three to four years. Not all homes can receive automated refuse service. That may depend on accessibility for the large trucks, roadway conditions and route capacity. In those areas where automated trucks cannot access, the county will be looking at semiautomation, which will require the use of different types of equipment.

For more information about your specific area, call the Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division, at 270-7875.

Q: I noticed the new electric car chargers in front of the county building. Who runs the chargers, and where can I buy a key fob so I can charge my Leaf?

A: The charging stations fronting the county building were installed by the Mayor’s Office and the Public Works Department using a mix of state and county funds. A key “fob,” or charging unit key, is required to operate the charging stations. The key fobs may be obtained for a $20 cash deposit from the Maui County Business Resource Center in Maui Mall in Kahului. Identification is required.

There are actually two different chargers mounted side by side. One is a level 2 charger that can be used by almost all current models of fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The other is a “quick charger”; it is the only one currently on Maui. Quick chargers allow Nissan Leafs and other fully electric vehicles equipped with “chademo” ports to charge in as little as 20 minutes. At this time, there is no cost to charge your electric vehicle at the county building, but it is anticipated that a charge will be imposed once the Public Utilities Commission and the council approve a fee. Parking spots in front of the chargers are still subject to the two-hour limit, and one of the stalls is dedicated for electric vehicle use.

The chargers are available for public use even when county offices are closed. Questions may be directed to Maui County Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod at 270-7710. Information also is available at the county website at

Ask The Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: I want to file a complaint about my neighbor, whom I think is putting up an illegal structure on his property next door. Can I make an anonymous complaint?

A: There are several ways to notify county departments that you suspect unregulated or illegal activity. However, only complaints that include the complainant’s legal name and contact information will be researched and/or investigated. While the complainant’s name will be disclosed to the alleged offender upon request, contact information will not be released. The county’s Request for Service program provides an important connection between government and our community, and this policy helps ensure that complaints received can be verified. To register a complaint, visit the county website at “”> and follow the instructions. If you do not have access to a computer, you can call a county department directly and ask to file a complaint.

Q: Yesterday I passed a large dead animal on the side of the road near my home. Who should I call to get it removed?

A: If the dead animal is a smaller animal, such as a dog or cat, you should call the Maui Humane Society at 877-3680 for removal. If the animal is larger, such as a pig, axis deer or cow, you should call the county’s Highways Division (Department of Public Works) at 270-7869. If you know that the dead animal is located along a state road or highway, contact the state Highways Division at 873-3535.

Q: I’m new to riding the bus, and one day I was waiting at my usual stop when a Maui Bus drove right by without stopping. Do you know why that might have happened?

A: You may have seen one of the county’s paratransit vehicles, which serve disabled riders and also bear the Maui Bus logo. These are smaller vehicles of varying sizes with the Maui Bus logo that do not have route numbers posted on the front of the bus. If not, perhaps the driver did not see you if you were not waiting near the bus stop sign post or were standing in a shaded area. If the bus you are waiting for is delayed, you can call the Maui Bus hotline at 871-4838 and ask the dispatcher for an update. Roberts Hawaii runs the operations for Maui Bus and staffs the phones from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. You can also visit for detailed information on bus routes, stops and fares, as well as the Google Transit ride-mapping feature. Maui Bus is the fastest-growing public transportation system in the nation.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th floor, Wailuku, 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email

Ask The Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: On my morning drive to work, I keep running into the same pothole. Who do I call to get the pothole fixed?

A: Potholes are a high priority for our road crews to repair. You can call the county Department of Public Works Highways Division at 270-7869 to report a pothole, and staff will help determine whether the road is a county road or a state road. If you already know the pothole is on a state highway, you can call the state Department of Transportation Highways Division at 873-3535.

Q: We live on an automated trash pickup route. The lid on our trash cart is broken. How do I get a replacement for it?

A: It’s a very simple process. Just call the Maui County Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division at 270-7875 and ask to have your trash cart lid replaced. You can provide your address and your lid will be replaced in a couple of days. The trash carts are the property of the county, so the county is responsible for repair or replacement due to normal wear and tear. However, if a trash bin is left out in an unsafe place and gets lost or damaged due to negligence, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to pay for a replacement. So be sure to take care of the cart and move it back onto your property after each collection.

Q: I’m working two jobs and don’t have a lot of time to run errands during the week. Is there a way I can pay my county bills online?

A: There are many ways to pay online for a variety of county services, the newest of which is your water bill. Our Department of Water Supply staff worked very hard over the past few months to complete the rollout of a new billing system that will allow for monthly billing and online water payments. You can also pay online for your trash pickup, motor vehicle registration, property tax, bicycle and moped registration, bus pass, park reservations and some commercial licenses and fees. Certain surcharges may apply based on the payment method. However, with the time and effort you save by paying online it may be well worth the nominal charge. Some payment options include credit/debit card and electronic checks. To see all the options, visit the county website at and click on “Online Services” on the left margin; then select “Pay your County Bill.”