Ask The Mayor

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

Q: I like to enjoy a few drinks with friends and family but the last thing I need is a DUI, especially with all the checkpoints over the holidays. What’s the legal blood alcohol limit?

A: While by law the legal blood alcohol concentration for drivers is 0.08 percent (0.02 percent for drivers under 21 years old), it’s safe to say that even one drink can be too many. Even if you test below the legal limit, you could be considered to be under the influence and arrested. According to the Maui Police Department, the only sure way to avoid a DUI is to not drink at all. If you do drink at a party, do not drive. Plan ahead and designate a sober, nondrinking driver or make arrangements for a ride home. If you’re at a party and see that someone else has been drinking and leaves to drive home, take away their keys and find an alternate ride for them. And always wear your seat belt as your best defense against impaired drivers.

Q: I am moving to the Mainland soon and have an old couch that won’t be making the trip. It is in too bad condition to be sold or donated. What is the proper way to dispose of furniture like this? Can it be taken to the landfill?

A: Yes, you can bring it to the Central Maui Landfill from Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; there is a $3 fee for residential waste drop-offs. For furniture and household items in better condition that can be donated or given away, some reuse ideas include offering them to Habitat for Humanity for sale in its ReStore retail location at 970 Lower Main St. (986-8050); listing them as free items on Craigslist or in the Facebook Marketplace; donating them to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers for homeless and transitional housing; or even putting them at the bottom of your driveway with a “FREE” sign on it. You might be surprised to see how much value someone else may place on the item you were trying to dispose of. For more recycling and refuse information, visit

Q: I was told I should file for a homeowner exemption in order to save property taxes on the home I just purchased this year. How do I apply, and what is the deadline?

A: The deadline to apply for a homeowner exemption for the following year is Jan. 2. If submitting the claim form by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Jan. 2. Keep in mind, however, that it may take time to provide the documentation required, so it would be best to initiate the application immediately. Owners can apply by downloading the home exemption application from or by visiting the Kahului Service Center located at Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Suite A-16. To be eligible for the homeowner exemption for 2018, the owner(s) must or will meet all of these requirements: own and occupy the property as their principal residence as of Jan. 1; file a 2016 Hawaii Resident Income tax return (form N11) with a reported address in the county by Dec. 31; and property taxes are not delinquent on the parcel. For more information or assistance, call 270-7297.

* 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., 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