Ask The Mayor

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

Q: As a single parent, it’s been tough to make ends meet this holiday season. Is there public assistance available to help me out until I can get back on my feet?

A: I’m sorry to hear you’re having challenges. There are many community agencies that offer various types of assistance. For a detailed listing of the resources available, visit There you can find contact information for the organizations that offer not only financial assistance but also clothing, crisis hotlines, dental care, employment, free meals, emergency shelter and much more.

Q: With all due respect, why do you even have the weekly “Ask the Mayor” column in The Maui News? With all the issues facing the county from financial crisis to crumbling infrastructure to unfunded pension funds, you answer three questions on traffic in subdivisions, overgrown bushes in neighborhoods and a bill about smoking in vehicles.

A: We started “Ask the Mayor” because my staff kept on getting the same questions over and over again. We thought if we shared the answers with the community we could talk to everyone at the same time and share those answers, instead of repeating ourselves. Since we started this column in 2013 it has been very well received, and I would like to thank everyone for reading the column so faithfully. My staff and I answer as many of the submitted questions as possible. Some of them are easier to answer than others and some of the answers take longer to find, but we do our best to answer them with guidance from our departments as they are the experts in their respective fields. Yes, infrastructure in the county is crumbling in some areas, which is why we actually do answer infrastructure-related questions in this column on a regular basis. Yes, we do have unfunded pension funds, but out of all the counties and the state, Maui County has had the best track record of making payments to the Employees Retirement System. Last but not least, keep in mind the header printed with each column: “Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies.” So feel free to submit a “real” question about a specific county issue that affects you or your neighborhood, and we will do our best to answer it. Aloha.

Q: I’ve lived in my home for many years and only recently I’ve had problems with flooding during heavy rains after my neighbor did what seemed like illegal grading on his property. It took me four days to clean up all the debris that washed onto my lot after all the rain we had the other week, and this was never a problem in the past — only after my neighbor was grading his property. Who do I contact about this?

A: You should file a Request for Service through the county website at, or in-person at the Public Works Development Services Administration, located at 250 S. High St. on the lower level facing Wailuku Public Library. Include as much detail as possible, including your property address, tax map key if known, contact information and a brief description of the problem. If you have photos of the flooding, that may be helpful later on as your request is reviewed.

* 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