DLNR moves toward marina privatization
Have you seen the Department of Land and Natural Resources' new summary of its activities and strategic plan for the future?
That question came from a fellow recreational boater who, like several others I have spoken with, had some questions about the DLNR's Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's fiscal and organizational accountability.
The documents he was referring to are available on the Web at http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr.
The summary lists several DBOR capital improvement projects and among them is the replacement of the 100 and 200 piers in the Keehi Small Boat Harbor.
"If this project (was funded) six months ago, why hasn't it gone out to bid?" my friend asked. "At this rate, the funding will be eaten up before the docks can be constructed."
It was also disturbing to note that while DBOR lists the cesspool removal project for Maui's Maalaea harbor as "in design," its estimate for going to bid is August 2007 and for its completion isn't until May 2009. And although the design is completed on the Ala Wai harbor's long departed F dock, the bid process and construction dates are merely listed as "pending." Can these projects be that complicated?
DBOR's strategic plan offers goals for the future and lists the policies, objectives and estimated time frame for fulfilling them. It then goes on, in a somewhat illogical manner, to present how it intends to measure the effectiveness of its actions.
For example, in order to "Maximize efficient utilization of state boating facilities," DBOR lists as one objective to, "Seek public, private, state and county partnerships for the management and/or operations of the harbors, both on a daily basis and to also collaborate on long-range plans (within two years)."
But then it lists as two measures of effectiveness: "Develop plan for privatization of selected facilities," and "Increase revenues needed to offset growing expenditures."
I think most people would consider both items to be two additional objectives, whereas DBOR might have more properly listed such points as, "Increased number of available moorings," or "Improved facility maintenance," or even "Elevated customer satisfaction" as ways to measure effectiveness.
Nevertheless, we should be encouraged by the fact that apparently the DLNR has finally asked its DBOR to phase out its recreational boat harbor management responsibilities. It is a practice that dates back to a time in Hawaii when the state was the only entity willing to finance and operate such marinas, but as the ongoing disintegration of our marinas makes obvious, the time has come for a change.
There are thousands of examples from around the world that show how partnerships between government and the private sector offer boaters superior facilities and services at reasonable rates.
These arrangements also allow governments to decrease their competition with private enterprise and to focus instead on the aspects of public works, transportation, health, safety and education.