First 100 Days Highlights 2011
In the first 100 days of the new administration Maui County literally weathered back-to-back public emergencies, even while we were still trying to put together the budget, meet with our constituents, and make important presentations before the state legislature.
First were the heavy rains in January which flooded the South side of Maui and twice shut down Honoapiilani Highway, cutting off the West side. Then on March 10th we faced another emergency, this time affecting the whole state. Now although these emergencies showed that the County could react quickly, we want people to know that we are also capable of taking the initiative and ACTING quickly as well.
To illustrate this we have completed a list of accomplishments which we feel will make Maui County a better place in the long run.
- Public works engineers quickly developed construction plans for the emergency repair of Kulanihakoi and Waipuilani Drainage ways on S. Kihei Road. Repairs to the Hauoli Street culvert were also completed in less than two weeks.
- Pothole repair response time improved to completing some requests within a matter of hours. On average workers say pothole requests will take about a day to complete and estimate they’ve filled about 12,000 holes so far.
- Initiated the County’s first curbside recycling program. After years of talk the pilot project has finally been included in the budget and is ready for council review.
- Put out to bid the installation of solar water heaters at six fire stations on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, as well as energy efficient lighting at 12 County buildings. This is our first step to make the County more energy efficient and to stimulate the economy by tapping into federal funds.
- Officially taken over the Paia by-pass from Alexander & Baldwin. Managing Director Keith Regan took it upon himself to spearhead the project and now the County is now licensed to operate the road. A&B and the State Highways Division are assisting us in order to open the bypass for good later this month.
- The Office of Economic Development has already brought back major sports events to Maui. This fall the American Windsurfing Tour returns to Ho’okipa to close out the season and with the competitors come hundreds of fans.
- Implementation of the Plastic Bag Ordinance. This ordinance has been applauded by both residents and visitors alike. Local businesses have stepped up to the plate and made the switch to canvas and paper bags like the good neighbors that they are.
- Improved relationship with County Council members. The mayor has met with each and every one of the Council members in order to discuss their concerns and issues. When Council members voiced their concern about not being able to see “real numbers” Budget Director Sandy Baz and his hardworking staff got the 2012 budget ready for Council review a week early.
- Improved communication and access to government. At the beginning of the year the mayor’s office implemented an “open door policy” which means anyone can see the mayor and/or his staff if they come to the 9th floor of the County building and sign in at the reception desk. This along with the mayor’s reminder to all County employees about being good public servants has had tangible results. Even Maui News Publisher Joe Bradley noted in a March 23rd editorial that “it is incredible the number of people who have told us that county personnel are returning their calls within a couple of hours. It actually seems like the County of Maui is trying to help its citizens.” Also for the first time the County has Facebook and Twitter social media websites.
- And most importantly the County has worked very hard to improve the permitting process for everyone. Some tangible results include the Marriot Airport Hotel project almost being ready for groundbreaking and the temporary gravel parking lot in Paia opening up within two weeks. Our Permit Process Improvement Team will also be holding a Technical Workshop for developers, contractors, engineers and business owners in order to educate them on how they can get their projects moving forward faster.
There are more accomplishments that we are proud of but we thought that these would be most important to the people of Maui County. But rest assured we have so much more work to do. We thank you for your time and hope that you will continue to support us in making the best community in the world a little better.
Mahalo and God Bless,
Mayor Alan Arakawa