Ask The Mayor
Q: Can you tell me if there is an option to pay our water bills over the phone or online using a credit card? I was looking online but it only gives you an option for automatic payments from a bank account.
A: For now, the automatic bill-pay is the only way to pay electronically for your water and sewer bill, although other online options may be available as soon as next month. Customers should be aware that while the current auto-pay feature is free, payments made by credit card, debit card or electronic check usually incur administrative fees charged by the vendor that have to be passed on to the customer. That being said, another convenient option is to drop off your payment at the Maui County Business Resource Center at the Maui Mall, instead of coming up to the County Building or mailing the payment.
Q: What is the effective date of the new smoking ban at county parks and beaches, and who is responsible for enforcing it?
A: The tobacco ban, which includes smoking, went into effect as soon as the new ordinance was signed into law on April 22, 2014. It will be enforced by county park rangers and by Maui police officers as needed; however, due to the nature of open spaces such as beaches, parks and the county golf course, this law will require the public to be self-enforcing to some degree. Just like when the state law was passed in 2006 banning smoking in arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters or within 20 feet of any public building entrance, this new law will take time for the public to adjust to a change in the “social norm.” For more information on the new law, visit “http://www.mauicounty.gov/mayor”>www.mauicounty.gov/mayor and click on “Mayor’s Update.”
Q: Who is responsible for the code enforcement of overgrown sidewalks? I’m attaching two photos of a sidewalk in Lahaina that is not passable due to the large weeds and shrubbery that have taken over.
A: The county’s Department of Public Works Highways Division will handle complaints regarding sidewalks with vegetation that has not been properly maintained by the property owner. You can submit a complaint online by making a “Request for Service” at www.mauicounty.gov/RFS. The system will ask you for the location of the sidewalk in question, and other details that will help staff follow up on your complaint.
Ask The Mayor
Q: Will the La Perouse Bay road and lava field be reopened for hikers and snorkelers? It was closed years ago for studies and extensions that seem to never end. I hiked and snorkeled the area, off the road, over 20 years ago until it closed and never saw the reported damage. Parking spots on the road were closed off and hiking isn’t allowed.
A: The ‘Ahihi-Kina’u reserve is part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Natural Area Reserve System, which is managed by the department’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and includes 20 reserve areas throughout the state. According to DLNR, certain portions of the reserve at ‘Ahihi-Kina’u remain closed, but hikers and snorkelers can still use the most easily accessed areas at Kanahena Cove, the Keone’o’io (La Perouse Bay) parking area and along the coastline fronting the historic village site of Moanakala (also known as the “Dumps” parking lot). Roadside parking within the reserve has been eliminated due to traffic congestion and for pedestrian safety purposes. The 2008 closure of the most sensitive area was prompted by the human impacts of unmanaged access by 700-1,000 people daily. Further, a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study determined that the closed sections of the reserve present public safety hazards due to unexploded ordnance from WWII, when the entire area was used as a bombing range. The closure was extended in 2010 and 2012, and extension of the closure is being supported by the ‘Ahihi-Kina’u NAR/ Keone’o’io Advisory Group. The ‘Ahihi-Kina’u reserve, the state’s first natural reserve, was established in 1973 to protect the most recent lava flow on Maui (which occurred between 1419 and 1621); some of the most pristine nearshore coral reefs in the Hawaiian Islands with more than 160 species of coral, reef animals and fish; and the largest concentration of anchialine pools in the world that support seabirds, shorebirds, migratory birds, native vegetation, algae, ‘opae ula and other rare organisms. To view the recently approved ‘Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve management plan, visit dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/files/2013/07/Ahihi-Kinau-NAR-Management-Plan.pdf
Q: I live in a gated condo development
and we have contracted curbside recycling service. The homeowners were recently notified that “the guidelines have changed” and that metal food cans (soup, vegetables, etc.) are no longer accepted. I have not seen this update via the Maui County Residential Recycling Guidelines. Did the guidelines change since they were last published in January 2014? It seems a shame that we would no longer recycle metal/tin, and instead send those items to our landfills.
A: No, the guidelines have not changed since the Winter 2014 edition – clean metal cans with the lids removed and containing no food residue can still be recycled at our county recycling centers. However, since there are no county ordinances requiring gated communities, condos, haulers or processors to adopt the same guidelines as the county recycling centers, it may be that the hauler that services your condo has elected to discontinue collecting metal cans. You may still bring rinsed, residue-free food cans (no lids) to a county recycling facility. For information on recycling at the county’s residential recycling centers, HI-5 recycling and other landfill diversion programs on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, visit www.mauicounty.gov/recycling.
Q: Have you driven down Kokomo Road lately? The condition of the road is horrible and has gone with no attention for too long. I saw old discussions about this topic yet still no action has taken place. Those who have to drive this road daily know how bad it is. Please do something about this; it needs to be a top priority. This road is a safety hazard, especially with the rains we have been experiencing.
A: I agree. Our Public Works engineers have been working hard to expedite this project, and we have just received a tentative Notice to Proceed for January 2015. As mentioned in a previous column, Public Works staff diligently pursued federal funding to have Kokomo Road completely rehabilitated – not just repaved. This means that about 80 percent of this major project will be paid for with federal funding, and the road will be totally rebuilt from the ground up.
Ask The Mayor
Q: Does the new tobacco ban at county parks and beaches mean that people cannot smoke on the Waiehu Golf Course too? What about the beaches in front of the hotels in Wailea and Kaanapali?
A: That is correct, the new law bans smoking and the use of tobacco products in parks and recreational facilities under the jurisdiction of the county, including Waiehu Golf Course. However, the beaches fronting resort areas may or may not be included in the ban, depending on whether the shoreline is part of a county beach park or not. For example, the beach, restroom and parking areas at Wailea Beach Park and Hanakao’o (Canoe) Beach Park in Kaanapali are official county parks that are included in the ban. To determine whether a beach is part of a county park, you can visit “http://www.mauicounty.gov/parks”>www.mauicounty.gov/parks and click on “County Parks Listing” to view parks by geographical district. Details on the new tobacco ban will soon be publicized and made available on the county website. To read the language of the new law, visit www.mauicounty.gov/mayor and click on “Mayor’s Update.”
Q: Observing pedestrian traffic on Waiale Road in Wailuku, especially when school lets out, it’s a disaster waiting to happen that could change lives forever. Are there any plans in the near future for road improvements to ensure the safety of our children?
A: Yes. Plans are currently in design to widen the shoulder on Waiale Road between Kaohu Street and Waiinu Road to create additional room for pedestrians and bicyclists. The project will also involve additional signage and striping improvements. The Department of Public Works plans to post this project for bids by the end of this year.
Q: Is there an online source to search questions that have already been asked and answered in this column?
A: Yes, we have created an “Ask the Mayor” archive on the county website and have begun adding items that ran since the column first began Feb. 8, 2013. My staff will continue to upload items so please keep checking back. I appreciate all the concerns we have been able to address in the column, thanks to the questions submitted by the public. To view the Q&A archive, visit www.mauicounty.gov/mayor and click on “Ask the Mayor Archive” on the left navigation menu.
Ask The Mayor
Q: I have a permanent disability that allows me to have a handicap parking placard. However, I have two cars registered in my name because my wife and I use both vehicles. When I tried at the Kahului DMVL and at the Pukalani Satellite DMVL offices to get a second handicap placard for the other car, I was told that due to fraud they can only issue one handicap placard. Can you help look into this? It’s a major inconvenience when the placard is in one car and my wife or I forget to take it out before taking the other vehicle. Is this really the law, or are people just not wanting to do their job?
A: The law states that only one removable windshield placard may be issued to a person with a disability that is expected to last at least six years. This parking permit is good for six years and is issued at no cost. If a person’s disability is expected to last one to six months, it is possible to obtain a temporary, removable windshield placard for a fee of $12, and a second placard for an additional $12 fee. Since your disability is permanent, you may want to apply for a special license plate and use the removable windshield placard in the other car. The license plate costs $5.50 and is issued only to someone whose disability is expected to last at least six years. The vehicle must be registered in the disabled individual’s name. The disability parking permit program is coordinated by the state Department of Health’s Disability and Communication Access Board, and administered by the county’s Finance Department through the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing. For more information on disability parking permits, visit health.hawaii.gov/dcab/ parking.
Q:As I am reading the March 26 Maui News, there is an article titled “$115.8M would fund range of county projects” on the front page. I am wondering if in that $115.8 million there will be money to fix the Pukalani fields bathrooms that were set on fire a few years ago? Pukalani is a great park with a running trail and playground for my kids. However, that bathroom is a complete eyesore along with the port-a-potties. There are so many folks who use the park; it would be nice to have the bathrooms fixed. I would love to have a response as to when they will be fixed. Thanks for your time.
A: The Parks Department has been going through the process of obtaining insurance funds to have the fire-damaged Pukalani Park restrooms repaired. Parks planners have recently entered into the design contract and are hoping to get started on the repairs to the restrooms in a few months. This is indeed a wonderful park and it will be even better for the community once the restrooms are open and working again.
Q: What is the status of the Haiku Fire Station? Thank you.
A: The Haiku Fire Station is currently in the design phase, which is expected to conclude by the end of 2015 pending approvals of final subdivision and land entitlements. The amount budgeted for the design phase was $1.047 million. Once design is complete, the County Council will need to approve funding for construction. According to the project’s draft environmental assessment, the proposed fire station is intended to “improve fire protection services throughout the Haiku area by providing a facility in a rural area of Maui where there is currently none available.” The EA also states that the proposed new fire station is being implemented by the County of Maui to meet long-term fire protection needs of the growing rural community in the Haiku area.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth 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 email@example.com.