Taxpayers are the losers in Launiupoko land deal
Given that the primary responsibility of government is to look after the interests of the citizens, I would suggest that we could have saved perhaps $5 million or so had the Maui County Council conversation with Makila Land Co. gone as it should have:
Council: Current market values do not support a $13 million price for your 186 acres in Launiupoko.
Makila Land Co: Well, that’s what we agreed to with Mayor Alan Arakawa.
Council: Only we can negotiate a land purchase of this magnitude. The mayor cannot.
Makila Land Co: We know that but he agreed and that’s what we want.
Council: Well, sorry but your land currently appraises at only $6.6 million to $9.4 million and it would be irresponsible for us to pay more. Our taxpayers deserve due diligence with their money.
Makila Land Co: Well we don’t care. Agree to pay us $13 million by Dec. 31 or we won’t sell.
Council: Unfortunately Launiupoko is essential to the welfare of the community. Eminent domain will pay you no more than fair market value, Makila. Do you want to rethink that last statement?
Well, obviously Makila Land won. Maybe the council won at some level. But we, the taxpayers, sure didn’t. Remember this at the polls, voters.