Promoting greater access to facilities, services and information

A bill to be considered at Tuesday’s council meeting would allow families access to a cherished playground that has inspired residents to come together as a community.

In 2012, substandard conditions forced the Department of Parks and Recreation to close the Kalakupua Playground on Giggle Hill in Haiku for safety reasons. Residents missed the playground where their kids played, so they organized support to bring it back for the community to enjoy.

The bill, recommended for approval in Budget and Finance Committee Report 14-42, would facilitate a $150,000 grant for the playground’s restoration and reopening.

In addition, a bill recommended for passage by Budget and Finance Committee Report 14-41 would fund the expansion of the Aging and Disability Resource Center, giving clients greater access to much-needed services. The ADRC provides continuing education, counseling, transportation and help with public-assistance programs to qualified clients, including adults and children.

Tuesday’s agenda includes my request, in County Communication 14-78, that the council consider means of allowing members of the public to have greater access to data that are deemed public records. I want a council committee to consider an open data policy for the County of Maui.

Making data sets available for public review and scrutiny is an obligation county officials should consider to promote transparency and efficiency.

This concept is not new. Dozens of municipalities across the nation, as well as the State of Hawaii, have made it their priority to develop an online portal where information is easily accessible to the public.

The idea is to inspire collaboration, economic development through reuse of data and community-based problem solving. I hope a well-thought-out open data policy will empower and inspire creativity in the community.

The agenda also includes two bills that will be heard on second and final reading. Bill 20 would establish policies for the Economic Development Revolving Fund, and Bill 21 would grant long-term use of county property in Lahaina to the West Maui Boys and Girls Club.

The council will also consider my resolution to recognize April 8, 2014, as Equal Pay Day in Maui County. As stated in the resolution, “pay equality in Maui County would add to the financial security of families and strengthen the local economy.”

Mayor Alan Arakawa is scheduled to present his proposed fiscal year 2015 budget to the council on Tuesday at 9 a.m. A Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting follows at 10:30 a.m., with the council meeting starting at 1:30 p.m.

The budget presentation and meetings are all in the Council Chambers.

A hui hou.

* Gladys Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council’s Pukalani/Kula/Ulupalakua area residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.