Q: I don't understand why it costs an additional amount - in my case, an additional $8.64 - to register my automobile online. I would think that registering online would help cut the county's expenses by cutting the amount of paperwork employees need to sift through by having to do more manual filing. Shouldn't this be a free service?
A: The online payment service is provided as an option for customers to use to pay their vehicle registration, as a complement to traditional motor vehicle transaction methods, such as mailing in their renewals or paying in person at the Maui Mall Service Center or at satellite offices. Approximately 900 customers opt to take advantage of the online service each month. The processing fee that is charged when vehicle owners renew their vehicle registration online is paid to the vendor that operates our motor vehicle online renewal system. Customers are advised of the additional charge upfront, and an itemized receipt is made available for printing at the end of the transaction. While the vendor's processing fee is slightly higher for credit cards than for e-checks, approximately 83 percent of the month's 900 online-paying customers elect to use the credit card option, and 17 percent choose to pay by e-check.
Q: Last Saturday evening, the Kihei Villager bus did not operate, leaving many stranded, including some active-duty members of the military who were here on vacation. There was no explanation, information, warning or any other notice given. The bus was just canceled, no reason given. What happened?
A: Initial reports indicate that the missed route was due to a mechanical problem. However, our county Department of Transportation is continuing to look into the incident. Roberts Hawaii, which operates the Maui Bus under a contract with the county, coordinates all county routes and takes calls from the public. Riders who suspect a delayed bus should call Roberts at 871-4838 for updated information. We recently dedicated 10 new county buses, so equipment failure should be less of a problem.
Q: I was walking along the beach near Maalaea and found what I believe to be some sort of feces on the shore. I am concerned that this could be human feces from one of the boats out in the water but am uncertain. Is there a way to check?
A: Without a sample of the specimen you are talking about, it is difficult to know for sure. However, looking at the picture you provided, our Department of Environmental Management highly doubts that this was something that came from a boat or anything else that has a waste collection system. Usually waste that goes through a collection system does not make it through to the other side in solid form. There may be pieces of waste in the liquid afterward, but certainly none of that size. What you saw was probably turtle waste or, less likely, human waste that was directly deposited on the shore. Having said that, please note that Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 13-221-30 states that "no person shall urinate or defecate other than at the . . . toilet facility provided." Maui County also has a similar law for our parks and recreation facilities that prohibits the same actions.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com.