Jan. 2 was a special day for me. It not only marked the start of my fourth term on the Maui County Council, but I was also privileged to receive the support of my colleagues as the chair for the 2013-2015 term.
In my tenure on the council, I've often heard people say they didn't know what the council was working on. So I'm grateful to have this opportunity to speak directly to Maui News readers and highlight upcoming meetings and topics before the council.
As Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Every resident of Lanai, Maui and Molokai should feel welcome and valued whenever they walk into the Council Chambers or interact with council members in other settings. After all, we are here to serve you. To do that well, we need to hear from you.
On Monday, Mayor Alan M. Arakawa submitted his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The council is now entering its annual budget session - which is one of the most important times to listen to our constituents. We need everyone's help as the council reviews operating costs of agencies, proposed capital improvement projects, user fees, real property tax rates and other budgetary issues.
Do your neighborhood roads need repaving? Would you like to see more support for certain programs or projects? Are there nonprofit organizations providing a substantial impact to your community? Should tax rates be adjusted?
Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council. This is the first edition of "Chair's 3 Minutes," Baisa's weekly column to appear on Sunday's Opinion pages.
These are only a few of the many challenges facing the council as we strive to balance the budget to ensure residents and visitors have the services, programs, facilities and physical environment necessary to keep Maui County no ka oi.
We'll be at the Kihei Community Center Monday, the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani on Wednesday and the Paia Community Center on Thursday, all starting at 6 p.m. The council's Budget and Finance Committee will continue visiting districts on all three islands throughout April. Please check the county website or call the Office of Council Services at 270-7838 for dates and times.
In addition to coming out to testify, there are many other ways to stay involved with the council - and we are always looking for even easier ways for Maui County's busy residents to share their ideas.
You can sign up for email or text notifications of press releases and meeting agendas at mauicounty.gov/subscribe. You can provide written testimony by email, fax or postal service. You can call me and other council members at 270-7838 to discuss the issues that are important to you.
I know by communicating and working together, we will face a bright future.
I look forward to sharing news on key topics regarding the fiscal year 2014 budget next Sunday.
A hui hou.