Are you prepared for hurricane season?

CHAIR'S 3 MINUTES

In the wake of several natural disasters wreaking havoc around the state, and with summer and hurricane season quickly approaching, this week’s column serves as a reminder of the precautionary measures the public should take in the event of a natural disaster.

Hurricane season runs from June to November and is expected to be busier than usual this year due to the projected El Nino conditions. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts three to six tropical cyclones for the central Pacific hurricane basin. Cyclones include tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes.

In the event of a hurricane, storm or other potential natural disaster, Maui residents should be prepared by 1) staying informed, 2) making a personal preparation plan, and 3) assembling an emergency survival kit.

In the last six months, the Maui Emergency Management Agency sent out 844 messages to the public using Maka’ala, MEMA’s emergency alert system. Messages are based on National Weather Service messages for flood, surf, wind, thunderstorm and hurricane advisories; Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Messages involving tsunami and earthquake statements; or on safety needs for the public such as king tides, siren testing and boil-water notices.

The public is also encouraged to stay informed on school and road closures and shelter openings by listening to Maui radio stations leading up to, during and after the emergency event.

To sign up for the Maka’ala emergency alert system, please visit the following website: member.everbridge.net/index/ 892807736722768#/login.

Establishing a personal preparation plan is also highly recommended. Families and individuals should create and practice evacuation procedures by deciding on a safe meeting place, being aware of warning signals, and utilizing active shelter locations.

Assembling an emergency survival kit before an event is crucial. Make sure to include these essentials in your emergency survival kit if you are sheltering in your home: four-week supply of prescription medicines, two-week supply of nonperishable food, two-week supply of water or a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day, candles, matches, flashlights, portable radio and extra batteries, first-aid kit, water purification kit, and copies of important documents.

For more tips and information on disaster preparedness, please visit Maui Emergency Management Agency’s website at www. mauicounty.gov/70/Emergency-Manage

ment-Agency and www.ready.gov/.

* * *

In County Council-related news, the Policy, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee will consider charter amendment proposals at this week’s upcoming meeting.

The charter is the County of Maui’s constitutional document. A charter amendment may be proposed by the council and be adopted on two readings by a two-thirds vote of its membership. Any proposed charter amendments are subject to approval by the public at the general election on Nov. 6.

I have proposed a charter amendment that would increase the penalty for operation of a transient accommodation without the necessary permit. The current penalty is $1,000 and my proposal would increase it up to $20,000, plus $10,000 per day if the unlawful operation persists. Authorizing a higher penalty for the illegal operation of a transient accommodation will provide a strong deterrent against violations of the county’s comprehensive zoning ordinance.

Finally, the council approved a $758.3 million budget for fiscal year 2019. The council-approved budget, if signed by the mayor, will be effective as of July 1, 2018.

Highlights from the budget include funds for a new Wailuku Civic Complex, a new central transportation hub for the Maui Bus, improvements to park facilities, and infrastructure improvements including roads, sewer and water.

Mahalo.

* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.

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