Aerial view of Kaneohe, looking makai
May 2013 - Kailua Town Hall Meeting Information
Kailua Walking Audit Recommendations
Road Repairs, Gas Tax and the FY-14 Budget
The Council continues to work on its amendments to the administration's proposed Operating and Capital budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, FY-14.
By now, most of you are probably aware that one of the highlights of the administration's budget included a proposed $0.05/gallon increase in the gas tax. This increase would have generated approximately $16M in additional revenue to, in part, help pay for restoration of bus services that were reduced or eliminated in the latter half of last year. The remainder of this additional revenue was to be used to help pay for the debt service for road repairs. The Council did not move the legislation, necessary to increase the gas tax, forward. However, this does not mean that the restoration of bus service or the increased funding for road repairs is in jeopardy. I have always believed that government should first look for savings within its own budget before seeking increases in taxes and fees. After looking through the proposed budget it seems to me that, at least in the upcoming year, we can find the necessary money to avoid increasing the gas tax.
Also, as I have mentioned previously, I have broader concerns with the sustainability of the gas tax. As fuel efficiency increases and more motorists shift to hybrid and electrical vehicles the amount of revenue generated, per mile, will decrease. While it may be easier to just simply continue raising the gas tax, to offset this decline, the gas tax will grow more and more regressive; impacting those that cannot afford newer, and more efficient, vehicles. I believe we need to start planning for this now and start looking at alternatives to the gas tax.
But the revenue discussion is just one side of the story. While we all certainly recognize the need for the City to get caught up with road repairs we have to be realistic in what the City and its contractors can actually deliver. Last year, the Council approved an appropriation of $100M for road repairs in the current fiscal year (FY-13) To date, less than 1% of those monies have been expended and only $28M has been encumbered. Despite this, the administration has proposed appropriating $150M for FY-14. I certainly admire the administration for its aggressive approach and optimism and I'm not necessarily opposed to their request—after all, just because the money is appropriated doesn't mean it will be spent. We just need to be sure that we can get the work done.
Frustration with Water Billing Changes
I recently introduced Resolution 13-62 in an effort to get BWS to address some significant impacts of their new billing cycle. Since the Board of Water Supply (BWS) switched from semi-monthly billing to monthly billing, our office has received numerous inquiries from constituents regarding the monthly "billing charge".
BWS has always included "billing charge" in its billing and many of you, myself included, were quite surprised to discover that when BWS opted to move to a monthly billing cycle this billing charge remained the same and all customers will now be annually paying double what they did last year. Additionally, the City's Department of Environmental Services (ENV) has seen the amount BWS charges it, for handling sewer billings, increase substantially.
After looking into this, I could not find any mention from the BWS that when it switched to a monthly billing cycle the cost to BWS customers and the City would effectively double. The legislation I introduced calls on BWS to return to a semi-monthly billing cycle until such time as they can implement the monthly billing cycle without imposing additional costs on its customers. I believe that water and sewer customers deserve a clear explanation of and accounting for this billing charge.
Pedestrian Safety Improvements on Kamehameha Highway
The Kane'ohe community has been requesting additional pedestrian safety improvements for the mid-intersection crosswalk located at the intersection of Pahia Road and Kamehameha Highway on a regular basis. As a basis for this request the community has cited the fact that there have been four pedestrian fatalities at or near this crosswalk in the past seven years. There have also been numerous pedestrian incidents that have not resulted in fatalities, but are also cause for concern. Our office submitted Request for Investigation and Service Reports regarding this matter in the past. DTS responded on that their survey showed that appropriate signs and markings are installed and in good condition. However, according to DTS, Honolulu Police Department records revealed that a pattern of pedestrian-related incidents occurred at or near this intersection and as such DTS would recommend the installation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) subject to funding being available. While the administration has been planning to fund this project in the outlaying years, I believe that this problem needs to be addressed sooner. As such, I have included funding in my FY-14 Capital Improvement Project request. It is my hope that DTS will be able to complete this project by next summer.
Sand Replenishment at Kailua Beach Park
I am happy to announce that the City has commenced with both the dredging of the Ka'elepulu Stream mouth and replenishment of sand on Kailua Beach. In recent years the depth of Ka'elepulu Stream at the mouth has progressively become lower and lower. The City is taking a two pronged approach for dredging. The first phase was to remove three feet of sand, approximately 100 yards Mauka of Kawailoa Bridge. The second includes dredging to a three foot depth from Kawailoa Bridge towards Kailua Bay. Sand from the first phase was stock piled and "dewatered" on an adjacent property. The dredged sand will be tested and the sand found suitable for use will be used to replenish the beach, more specifically the area near the Kailua Boat Ramp. Sand that is not fit for replenishment will be disposed of or used by the City for other projects. The City has already started our replenishment project with sand that had been stock piled after the last stream mouth opening. Because of this project the Kailua Boat Ramp and some of the surrounding parking will be closed to the public during the week, but will be reopened on the weekends.
Driver License Information
Drivers may go to Ko`olau Center (across from Temple Valley), Kapolei, City Square on Dillingham Blvd., Pearl City, Wahiawa, or Waianae (Mondays and Wednesdays only at this location) for road tests.
Driver License information and registration is available at: www.co.honolulu.hi.us/csd/vehicle/dllocations.htm
Expanded Hours for Convenience Centers for Refuse and Recycling
KAPAA TRANSFER STATION - Kapaa Quarry Access Road
Open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, weekdays & 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, weekends
Contact Number - 262-4248
WAIMANALO CONVENIENCE CENTER
Hihimanu Street, near the sewage treatment plant
Open 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, 7 days a week
Contact Number - 259-7182