State of the county

Mayor Alan Arakawa’s State of the County speech Wednesday was an upbeat appraisal of how Maui is doing under his leadership – and where he wants to take us in the coming years.

His commitment to upgrading the county’s infrastructure is laudable, and proposals like the expansion of solar rooftop photovoltaic system to 18 more facilities will have immediate – and long-lasting – effects on cutting government costs.

His plan to find other quarters for the Motor Vehicle and Property Tax divisions and Treasury Collections is also a good one. The $475,000 per year rent the county pays at Maui Mall to house those offices is too much. That rent is designed for retail operations – government does not belong there.

The county bus system continues to grow and has become an essential tool for many of our residents. The mayor unveiled plans for nine more paratransit buses and three smaller buses.

One other thing we believe Arakawa deserves credit for – and was not mentioned in Wednesday’s speech – is changing government’s relationship with business. Under his leadership we hear time and again that county government is no longer viewed as a business adversary.

Whether it is permits or signs, the attitude now seems to be “here is how you get into compliance,” not “get into compliance or we’ll shut you down.” Through his appointments, the mayor has let small business in particular know that county government wants to help them succeed.

As the mayor prepares a bid this fall for another term, he seems to be on solid footing. The reason is simple – the county is on the right track.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.