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Saturday, January 27, 2001

Maui County

Praise, criticism follow
Maui mayor’s address

By Gary Kubota

WAILUKU -- Elected officials and community leaders praised Maui Mayor James Apana's State of the County speech, including his promise not to raise the property-tax rate.

But Apana's promises were also received with some skepticism and his idea about leasing office space at the Maui Mall to open a county service center drew criticism.

Councilman Alan Arakawa, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican against Apana for mayor in 1998, said he thinks the county would do better to build a service center on county land rather than spend $2.7 million in the next 10 years.

"We have to look long-term," Arakawa said. "What happens if A&B raises the rent?"

Council Chairman Patrick Kawano said Apana expressed a "good vision" in his speech yesterday.

But Kawano said he's interested in looking at how Apana fits his new projects into his budget when he presents it to the Council in mid-March.

"It's good, but I'd like to see the budget," Kawano said.

Kawano said he felt Apana has done a "good job" in his first two years and the county was in better shape today than it was in 1998, when Apana became mayor.

Apana, who expects a widening tax base and rising property assessments to add to county revenues, said his fiscal 2001-2002 budget will include proposals to build a senior citizens center in West Maui, a fire station in Wailea, and a new police station on Lanai.

Apana drew praise for his proposal to have the county contribute $1 million as seed money to a trust fund for the purchase of beach parcels and other lands.

Dana Naone Hall, a spokeswoman for Hui Alanui O Makena, said she also liked the mayor's proposal to set aside view corridors, such as the coastline from Mama's Fish House in Kuau to Haiku.

Maui County

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