Mayor Harry Kim took the “Oath of Office” at the Hawaii County Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, December 5th at the Hilo Civic Center.
Soon after, the Hawaii County website changed to reflect the new mayor’s vision with a statement from him on the side of the website along with a couple announcements talking about what he accomplished the previous time he was in office:
The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.
Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times
In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:
- 3% cap on increase in value per year
- Higher exemption based on % of value
- Improved Homeowner Dedication program
Also proposed were revisions to agriculture tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:
- Created and proposed funding reserves
- Created “Rainy Day” Fund
- Disaster & Emergency Fund
- We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.
In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.
HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.
- Hired first Recycling Coordinator
- Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
- Established at 19 transfer stations
- First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003
- Increased life by up to 10 years
- Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles
Programs & Initiatives
2005 General Plan
- Included “important ag lands” designation
- Community Development Plans
Free bus rides
An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things
Aging and Disability Resource Center
First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility
Community Development Plans
Initiated & adopted
- Kona (2005-2008)
- Puna (2006-2008)
- North and South Kohala (2007-2008)
Shoreline public access
- Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
- Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
- Kohanaiki compromise, new park
- Donation of Hakalau Mill site
- Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
- Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
- Waipio Ranger Program
Concept introduced in 2004
Upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic
Waste to Energy
Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.
During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially
in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:
- Police – Added 143 new positions
- Fire – Added 141 new positions
- West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
- Aupuni Center (1)
- Pahoa Fire Station (2)
- Pahoa Police Station (4)
- County Building Renovation (2)
- East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
- Makalei Fire Station Site (6)
- Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
- Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
- Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
- Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
- Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
- Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
- Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
- Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
- Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
- Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
- Puako Escape Route (1)
- Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)
- Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
- Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
- Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
- Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
- Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
- Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)
Other (Managed by DWS)
- HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
- Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
- Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)
- Planned, funded, construction complete
- Planned, funded, construction started
- Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
- Site identified and acquired, planning phase
- Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
- Site identified, in negotiations
Kona Community Development Plan (CDP)
Initiated the General Plan’s intent of community development plans that provide a forum for community input into managing
growth and coordinating delivery of government services.
West Hawai‘i Civic Center
Identified the need to bring County services together in one place and prioritized the construction of a new West Hawai‘i civic center. Extensive community input guided the design of the facility as a “gathering place”, resulting in an inviting and energy-efficient civic center that received LEED Silver certification.
- 2002: Site selected; land acquired from State by E.O. 3952
- 2005: Contract awarded for design and community input
- 2008: $50.5M of County funds committed for design/build contract; groundbreaking in October
- 2011: Construction completed
The following projects were initiated by the Kim Administration and were in various stages of completion by the end of 2008:
Keāhole to Hōnaunau Regional Circulation Plan:
Completed in 2003, this plan comprehensively analyzed options to address the growing commuter traffic from Ka’u and South Kona traveling through North Kona. The recommendations were incorporated into the Kona CDP and is the foundation for
Kona road projects.
Ane Keohokalole Highway:
The Keāhole to Kailua Development Plan introduced the concept of a Mid-Level Road in 1991. In 2007 started engineering and an environmental assessment. In 2008 the Kona CDP officially recognized this road as a priority. These actions positioned
this project to qualify for federal stimulus funding.
Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road:
This road connects the Villages of La‘i ‘Ōpua, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, and the Kealakehe houselots to reduce the travel times for school children. In 2007 secured funding and started construction.
Kuakini Highway Improvements:
This project widened Kuakini Highway from two to four lanes from Palani Road to Hualālai Street. Weekly meetings were held among the contractor, Public Works staff, and the community. Completed in 2006.
Palani Road Safety Improvements at Kealaka‘a Street:
This project realigns Kealaka‘a Street to intersect with Palani Road and Palihiolo Street with a traffic light. In 2006 funds secured and construction started.
This project improves mauka-makai connectivity between Ali‘i Drive and Kuakini Highway for traffic flow and emergency evacuation purposes. In 2004 secured funds for engineering, environmental assessment, and land acquisition. In 2008 final environmental
assessment culminated months of meetings with the community; funding secured for construction.
Negotiated with the Hokuli‘a developer to grant an easement to the County for the use of the Māmalahoa Bypass on a limited basis for southbound afternoon traffic. Introduced amendments to the rezoning ordinance and traffic code to allow use of Haleki‘i Street as a connector prior to the opening of entire bypass to Nāpō‘opo‘o, and specify improvements to Ali‘i Drive and Haleki‘i Street to accommodate the increased traffic.
Traffic Flow Improvements:
Completed a number of smaller projects to improve traffic flow on existing streets — Hina Lani/Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, right turn lane; Hina Lani/Māmalahoa Highway, traffic signal; Kaiminani/ Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Kaiminani/Māmalahoa Highway, right turn lanes; various improvements to Māmalahoa Highway, Honalo to Captain Cook.
Housing, Water, & Public Safety Projects
“A Friendly Place” for Homeless:
When previous attempts to locate a homeless service center and shelter faced community resistance, the Administration relocated a County baseyard in the Kailua Industrial area to build a homeless intake and service center. The structure was donated by developer Stanford Carr.
Emergency Housing for Homeless:
The Administration initiated a homeless shelter on the Friendly Place site. In 2008 a partnership between the County, State and HUD allowed construction to go forward.
Kaloko Housing Program:
This project provided decent, safe and sanitary housing and support services to qualified homeless families with children. This was an urgent need due to the pending closure of the Kawaihae transitional housing. In 2006 secured the site by working with the private developer of the Kaloko Industrial Park, TSA Corporation, to acquire eight acres of land along Hina Lani Street.
Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water System Improvement District:
Responded to a community’s outcry for assistance through an innovative partnering of County and federal resources. This project constructed a County dedicable water system serving 437 Kona households to replace aging private water systems and leakage-prone
Mākālei Fire Station:
Upon determining a previous site as too costly and not suitable, in 2007 secured a site donated by a landowner with assistance of Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Lynch. In 2008 Final EA published.
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