County Council members are headed to New Orleans this week to confer with county officials and policy experts from across the country and celebrate the installation of our colleague Riki Hokama as president of the National Association of Counties.
NACo's annual conference provides a historic opportunity for the County of Maui to provide leadership on the national level as Hokama, who holds the council's Lanai residency seat, takes charge of the organization that represents 3,069 counties.
Hokama announced that transportation will be the theme for his one-year presidency. He will seek reauthorization of the federal transportation bill known as MAP-21 and pursue other initiatives supporting counties' needs for highways, transit and other components of intermodal transportation.
Conference attendees will learn about programs to foster employee wellness, means of becoming more self-reliant through economic diversification and tips on accessing federal funding opportunities.
During the conference, NACo will unveil County Intelligence Connection 2.0, or CIC 2.0, described as "a big-data tool to help counties make informed policy decisions." CIC 2.0, which should complement local open-data initiatives, will include an interactive map featuring all U.S. counties, providing nearly 70 data sets.
Follow the conference by using the hashtag #NACoAnn on social media or visiting naco.org.
Prior to the conference, council members will work through a heavy agenda at a council meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Twelve reports from the council's standing committees will be presented.
The council will consider on first reading a bill to ban the consumption of intoxicating liquor within the boundaries of Kamaole Beach Park II in Kihei. The bill, introduced by Council Member Don Couch and recommended for passage by the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee, follows existing bans at other South Maui beaches.
Representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Police Department expressed support for the bill to the committee. One MPD officer reported a decrease in complaints since alcohol prohibitions went into effect at other nearby parks.
A resolution will also be considered, as recommended by the committee, to authorize acceptance of a donation of a batting cage for the Wailuku Elementary School Park.
As recommended by the Land Use Committee, the council will consider a resolution to approve the location and boundaries of the Makawao Cemetery on approximately 7 acres, as required by state law.
A change in zoning to accommodate expansion plans for nonprofit Ka Lima O Maui on 2 acres in Wailuku will also be considered by the council. If the zoning is approved, the organization, which provides employment opportunities for adults with disabilities, will construct buildings for office and program purposes.
As part of the county's ongoing effort to improve the zoning code, the council will consider a bill to change how the permitted uses for the B-3 Central Business District are described to make them more easily understood, as recommended by the Planning Committee.
To learn more about these and other the measures passed out of committee, review committee reports at mauicounty.gov/committees. Testimony may be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A hui hou.
* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council's Pukalani-Kula-Ulupalakua area residency seat. "Chair's 3 Minutes" is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.