Ask The Mayor

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

Q: I heard that the county ran out of money for the Junk Vehicles Assistance Program, but does that affect the vehicles that get abandoned on the side of the road? Will they still get picked up?

A: The good news is that the Abandoned Vehicles Program is alive and well and nothing is changing. The Junk Vehicles Assistance Program and the Abandoned Vehicles Program are not the same thing. We will continue to remove abandoned vehicles from public roadways as we have been doing for years. The Junk Vehicles Assistance Program being suspended is a pilot program that offered a subsidy that paid for disposal costs for residents to junk/dispose of their vehicles in an effort to prevent people from abandoning them. The Department of Environmental Management is currently identifying sources of funding so we can reinstate that program. The department is unable to give us a timeline when it will be reinstated. It will be requesting funds for the program for the 2019 fiscal year. In the meantime, the public can still take their junk vehicles to the permitted recycling facility, Hammerhead Metals, for a fee. Call Hammerhead at 280-8844 for fees, hours and policies.

Q: How come the ABC Stores are still permitted to use single-use plastic bags?

A: The bags that ABC Stores use at their checkout are allowed according to the county Ordinance and Administrative Rules (17-105-6). The rules allow bags that are made from plastic that are specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse, that have handles and are at least 3 millimeters thick. The bag must say “Reusable Bag” on it. ABC bags meet all standards according to the administrative rules.

Q: There seems to be an increase in the number of illegal fireworks being lit off this past New Year’s Eve. I am also concerned about the nights leading up to New Year’s Eve; people are setting them off throughout the night making it hard to sleep, especially when we have to go to work the next day. Can we have all fireworks outlawed, since people can’t respect the rest of the community? Something needs to be done.

A: While you might be in favor of a total ban on fireworks, there would likely be others in our community who would be opposed to such a measure. Currently, the use of aerial fireworks is illegal without the acquisition of a proper use permit and a trained pyrotechnic technician. The setting off of nonaerial fireworks is also illegal if not used within the allowed periods for use or without an approved permit for use outside the allowed use-periods. The Maui Police Department has informed us that their officers have given out warnings and citations, but in many cases it is hard to determine where aerials are being launched from unless you catch them in that act or have witnesses willing to accuse their own neighbors. The most likely way the fireworks are arriving on Maui is by shipping them in unmarked containers or through undeclared mail, both of which are illegal and dangerous. The best way to combat illegal fireworks is to prevent them from being sold in the first place. The Maui Police Department asks that anyone with credible information about the illegal sale of aerial fireworks contact its nonemergency police phone line at 244-6400 or email MPD’s Community Relations section at

* 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