Ask The Mayor
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: When will south Kihei’s lower road be repaved? After rainstorms, potholes are only patched. Nothing done after construction projects. It’s ruining my tires.
A: A resurfacing project will begin in the next few weeks along a section of South Kihei Road between Kauhaa and Lipoa streets. Additionally, according to our current resurfacing schedule, resurfacing will continue north on South Kihei Road from Kauhaa Street to Kulanihakoi Street during the current fiscal year that runs through June 30.
Q: My aunt in California asked that I bring her a fragrant lei for her birthday celebration later this month, but I’m not sure which kinds of lei are allowed. How can I find out? I don’t want to buy her a special lei only to have it confiscated at the agricultural inspection station.
A: White or yellow ginger, tuberose, maile or orchid lei are fine as long as they pass inspection, but any lei containing fresh botanical fruits, such as berries or hala (pandanus) fruit or citrus leaves, including pieces of mock orange leaves in-between kukui nut or other lei, are not allowed. Other lei prohibited for Mainland travel include Maunaloa, kauna’oa (Dodder), sea grape, blue jade plant and kikania (round, bright red-colored seeds). The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits certain plant items from entering the Mainland to prevent the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid, a gnat-sized insect capable of transmitting one of the world’s most serious citrus diseases — citrus greening disease. This harmful pest feeds on all citrus and other fruit and ornamental plants. USDA inspectors will examine your lei at the airport for prohibited items and any signs of plant infestation or infection. For more information online, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis and type “lei” into the search bar.
Q: Please advise if the increase in the transient accommodations tax is effective immediately or will it take effect next year? I wish to make sure I’m paying the correct amount at the correct time. Thanking you in advance for your reply as soon as possible.
A: The TAT is a state function, however I can tell you that the increase in TAT will take effect Jan. 1 for 13 years. The increase is currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2030. This new TAT rate includes time shares and was signed into law by Gov. David Ige to help fund the Honolulu rail system. More information on determining the proper TAT rate is available online at tax.hawaii.gov, click on “Tax Announcement 2017-10.”
* 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.