Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for years, but I’ve always dreamed of making a career change or even running my own business. It all seems a bit daunting, though, and I’m honestly a little afraid of taking the plunge. Are there any resources or people that I could get help from on Maui?

A: Running your own business or changing careers can sometimes be a very scary and lonely venture, but we can and want to help you. Maui County provides many programs and resources for residents and partners with numerous organizations.

A prime example is the Core Four program administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.’s Business Development Center. The program is a six-week, 36-hour course in how to write a business plan while providing the information entrepreneurs need to start or grow their business. Last week, I was fortunate to meet the program’s latest graduates and each one of them has a bright future. Around 130 residents go through this program each year and over 2,000 have graduated since it started nearly 20 years ago under the direction of Gladys Baisa – who now serves as one of my community liaisons.

The Core Four program is offered 10 times per year on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. The course is funded by grants from the Maui County Office of Economic Development, Central Pacific Bank Foundation and the Agape Foundation.

The next series of classes starts Feb. 26. To download the application and register for the program, visit MEO’s website at www.meoinc.org/content/5390cf65ec062/Business_Development_Center_(BDC).html. Applications can be submitted via email to micro@meoinc.org or dropped off at the office located at 99 Mahalani St. in Wailuku. For more information, please call MEO’s Business Development Center at 249-2990.

Another great tool people can take advantage of is our very own Maui County Business Resource Center located at the Maui Mall. This center is an extension project of the Office of Economic Development and serves as a resource for new and existing business owners who need assistance and consultation. The Kuha’o Business Resource Center, located in Kaunakakai, serves business owners on Molokai.

To access online business research tools, browse business publications, obtain forms and applications for business licenses and download a handbook on starting a business in Maui County, visit www.mauicounty.gov/MCBRC. To view the calendar of workshops from the MCBRC webpage, click on “Training Opportunities.” You can call the MCBRC at 873-8247 for more information on services provided at the center.

Q: Where can people dump their old mattresses or furniture on Maui? I see them once in a while on the street and in the most random places. You’d think people would know, but I’m pretty sure they just don’t care.

A: Our Department of Environmental Management is asked about this from time to time, and I think it’s always good to remind residents of their options. Our landfills do accept old mattresses, and I strongly encourage residents to properly dispose of their unwanted beds, rather than leave them on the side of the road. We all have a personal responsibility to keep our environment clean and safe for generations.

Mattresses in poor condition will need to be disposed of at the landfill. It should not be left out in the elements or dumped because it is against the law and can become a safety or fire hazard.

The Central Maui Landfill is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday on Pulehu Road above the Hansen Road intersection. There is a $3 fee for residential waste drop-offs. Landfills in Hana, Lanai and Molokai are open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. These landfills are free of charge for residents. The transfer station in Olowalu is open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and also is free of charge for residents. For more information, please call the Solid Waste Division at 270-7875.

Mattresses in good condition could possibly be given away or donated to shelters such as Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center. If you have chairs, couches or other furniture in very good condition, you could try calling Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. They may accept your donated furniture, but only if it meets their standard for resale.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, 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 mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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