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County Council Update

Updated: 
August 8, 2017 - 12:45am

Aloha everyone. I wanted to give you all a brief update of some happenings in our county.

Shooting range:

This week the County Council passed out of committee a resolution to support putting together a group to build a shooting range for our community. Councilwoman Sue Leeloy and I co-sponsored this resolution as its intent is to establish a working group that will engage all the different players that it will take to get this done. This is only the first step. There is a growing trend for competitive shooting sports, not only as a family pastime, but also in our high schools, high school rodeo and 4-H. A facility like this is all about safety; to supply a safe and legal location for people to learn safety and enjoy the sport.

Roads in limbo:

Roads in limbo is a designation given to a road that neither the county nor the state claim responsibility for. Despite efforts to resolve this at a state level, these still exist. Its further complication is a road that is not claimed by the state or the county and not even been designated as a road is in limbo. Union Mill Road appears to be one of these, as well as the roads in Halaula. The County Department of Public Works (DPW)came out to Kohala to have a quick look. I am working with DPW to get the designation resolved so we can look toward getting maintenance done on those roads. Stay tuned.

Waste water matters:

There has been a lot of news and conversation as of late concerning our sewage and wastewater management for our county. This is especially concerning along our coastal communities. The newer resorts and development have their sewage and wastewater needs met with privately run and managed facilities. However, our older communities are where many of our pressing challenges lay. Puako is one example. Another is portions of Alii Drive. In the early days with fewer homes, the effect of cesspools was minimal. As these and all communities have grown, the sheer volume has increased thereby increasing the impact. Moving away from cesspools to septic systems is a step, but ultimately these communities are best served by sewage treatment plants. Upcountry communities would eventually benefit from this as well, but the pressing needs are first in the coastal zones. The challenge is how to fund these. One estimate I have seen for Puako is in excess of $14 million. Undoubtedly, the answers will be found in collaborative efforts between local, state and possibly federal programs with some sort of public/private partnership. The population on the Big Island has tripled in the last 50 years and these problems we face will need to be dealt with methodically as we go forward.

Flood zone:

Recently, the County Council approved a bill that aligns our ordinances with the federal standards. This also means we adopted new flood zone inundation maps that are greater than previous. Houses not previously considered in flood zones may now actually be. As a county, if we had not adopted these standards we would not then qualify for FEMA aid in time of an emergency. If you are in a newly designated flood zone and have a mortgage, your lender will require you to have flood insurance. There are some programs that can greatly reduce the cost if acted upon now. These maps are available for public review. Please contact the Department of Public Works at www.hawaiicounty.gov/public-works/ for more information.

Other information:

The 1st Waimea Emergency Preparedness Fair will be held on Aug. 19 at the Waimea LDS Church from 9 a.m.–noon. Be sure to attend as there will be vendors, demos, workshops and refreshments to encourage us all to “be smart, take part and prepare.”

We have a new office location. The Council District 9 office is now located in the Parker Square complex in Waimea, Suite 109. Most of the moving pains are behind us now, though we are still encountering a few technology glitches with the phones and Internet service. Very shortly, the Waimea office will be set up and running for public testimony during council meetings. The County Clerk’s office is working steadily to resolve the problems. We look forward to servicing you better out of our new location.

As always, it is a great privilege to serve as your councilman and I look forward to continuing my work for you.

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