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County budget meetings to feature new format

By Staff | Sep 4, 2014

WAILUKU – Mayor Alan Arakawa and his administration will host a series of community meetings in September and October to receive comments and suggestions from the public regarding the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16.

Citizens with an interest in the county budget are encouraged to attend a meeting in their local area and offer input, either as individuals or on behalf of an organization. Both written and verbal comments will be accepted.

Maui budget meeting times and locations are as follows: Monday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m., Lahaina Civic Center; Monday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m., Helene Social Hall, Hana; Monday, Oct. 6, 5 p.m., Kihei Community Center; Wednesday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m., Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Pukalani; Thursday, Oct. 9, 5 p.m., Velma Santos (Wailuku) Community Center; and Monday, Oct. 20, 5 p.m., Paia Community Center.

As a new feature to the mayor’s annual community budget meetings, tables will be set up to allow directors and staff from each county department to meet with members of the public, hear budget-related needs, listen to concerns and answer questions about various county-related issues.

Attendees will be given a form upon arrival at the meeting to determine their needs, and which department(s) their comments pertain to.

The meeting in each community will begin with an overview by Mayor Arakawa and Budget Director Sandy Baz, followed by approximately one hour for attendees to submit comments at the various department tables.

To close the evening, the group reconvenes, so that the mayor and budget director can provide a recap of the issues that were raised by attendees.

“Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a large audience, especially when a microphone is set up in the hall,” said Mayor Arakawa. “This new discussion format will help the community meetings run more effectively by allowing people to share their comments with our county staff in a more direct and time-efficient manner.

“Many of the initiatives that my administration has worked on in the past several years are a direct result of the input from these community meetings,” Arakawa continued. “Suggestions from the public are welcome and are greatly appreciated, as they help us prioritize what is best for our community and understand how to better serve Maui County residents.”

Input from the community meetings will be taken into consideration when the administration constructs the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

“Putting together the Maui County budget is a process in which everyone should have a part,” said Mayor Arakawa.

For more information on the community meetings, contact the County of Maui Budget Office at 270-7855.

The program office of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) will conduct public hearings 15 minutes prior to the mayor’s community budget meetings in East Maui, Molokai, Central Maui and Lanai.

CDBG will gather views and comments from interested persons who wish to participate in the preparation of the county’s proposed Annual Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2015-16, relating to the county’s grant application for more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Community Development Block Grant is a federal program created by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-383). CDBG funds received will be utilized for housing and community development needs primarily benefiting low and moderate income persons.

For information on the CDBG public hearings, contact the County of Maui CDBG Program Office at 270-7213.