House District 13

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

HB1965 Aims to Preserve Historic Sites

In News Release on January 27, 2010 at 2:11 am

Representative Mele Carroll (D-13th), in cooperation with her colleagues, has introduced a bill that will require that an archaeologist conduct an inventory survey on undeveloped properties prior to sale. HB1965 is designed to protect any previously undiscovered historic site from damage due to occupancy or construction. Property owners, or those responsible for the sale of property, who intend to sell undeveloped land or lease it for a period longer ten years will be responsible for ensuring that an archaeological survey is conducted.

“Too many historic sites have been damaged or destroyed,” says Representative Mele Carroll. “It is important that we discover, evaluate, and document those remaining sites to ensure that valuable knowledge from the past is not lost forever.”

HB1965 stipulates that any sites or resources discovered on undeveloped property that may be eligible for the Hawaii Registry of Historic Places must be noted and filed with the Bureau of Conveyances. It applies only to real property situated within the State of Hawaii on which no improvements have been made or on which existing improvements are scheduled to be demolished and removed. It does not apply to previously developed property with established occupancy.

Although there are already measures in place to prevent damage to historic sites, they have been circumvented in the past and in more recent times. According to Representative Hanohano, (D-4th), who co-introduced the bill, “A heiau in Kona was totally destroyed, even though it was on the Historic Register. There’s a lack of communication between agencies, and we need to tighten up these laws so past mistakes are not repeated.”

A State Historic Preservation Officer would need to approve the archaeological surveys and could recommend that portions of the undeveloped property are unsuitable for future development and recommend that these portions be reclassified conservation or zoned by a county for preservation zoning.

HB1965 was introduced by Representatives Mele Carroll, Faye Hanohano, Cindy Evans (D-7th), Michael Magaoay (D-46th), and Clifton Tsuji (D-3rd) on January 20 and passed its first reading on that day. On January 26, the Committees on Economic Revitalization, Business, and Military Affairs (EBM) recommended that the measure be passed with amendments.

Like the EBM, Sara Collins, Ph.D. and Legislative Committee chair for the Society of Hawaiian Archaeology recommends that HB1965 be amended before it is passed, but supports “the intent of the bill, which we believe to be the proactive discovery, documentation, evaluation, and protection of significant historic sites on lands that have not previously been surveyed or heavily developed in recent years.”

Representative Mele Carroll is optimistic about the bill and hopes that it will better safeguard historically significant sites and prove to be an educational tool for both landowners and the community at large. “We have lost track of so many historic sites,” she says. “This will give us the opportunity not only to rediscover them, but to preserve them and to show our children physical markers of the history of our land and our people.”

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Representative Mele Carroll Advocates for Release of TAT Funds

In News Release on January 16, 2010 at 1:41 am

In response to the statewide deficit, Governor Linda Lingle has recommended that Transient Accommodations Tax monies be withheld from all counties. In the instance of Maui County, this would entail a budget shortfall of $18 million. Representative Mele Carroll of House District 13 opposes taking the TAT away from neighbor islands and asserts that it is vital to Maui County that the Governor release these funds, along with others currently being withheld from projects essential to the growth and security of Maui County.

In assessing the significance of these funds, Representative Mele Carroll points out, “At a conservative estimate, tourism accounts for 30% of Maui County’s economy. Given the magnitude of this industry, it is of utmost importance that those responsible for the infrastructural and logistical aspects of tourism be allotted adequate funding.”

At this time, Representative Mele Carroll feels strongly that withholding TAT monies could potentially devastate the community in Maui County, particularly essential programs. Conversely, releasing funds to Maui County could help to alleviate the County’s existing deficit and help our residents as we weather this economic storm.

Representative Mele Carroll, who represents House District 13—East Maui, Moloka`i, Lana`i, and Kaho`olawe—worked hard to get monies in the budget last session, including $3.5 million to make improvements on the Moloka`i Irrigation System, $400,000 to build a sustainable infrastructure for the Kaho`olawe Ohana and volunteers, $250,000 to plan and design the Nahiku Community Center, $500,000 to acquire land on Moloka`i for Maui Community College, $450,000 to expand, design, and construct Hana Health, $400,000 to plan, design, and construct facilities for the Sunrise Farm Community of Maui, and $1 million to plan, design, and renovate a facility for the Moloka`i Ohana Health Care.

In advocating for these projects, Representative Mele Carroll is helping to ensure that her constituents in District 13 receive those funds necessary to keeping essential services and critical infrastructural facilities.

It is necessary that we examine all possibilities including salary savings from furloughs, special fund transfers, income tax credits—refundable and non-refundable, debt refinancing and look at additional department savings. “We need to prioritize and be creative as we deliberate the budget shortfalls this session,” says Representative Mele Carroll. “No matter where you cut, everyone’s going to be affected. I encourage the public to participate in our process and voice their concerns. The reality of this situation is evident—that we are all going to have to sacrifice in these trying times.”

Proposals being offered this session include restricting Department of Education and University of Hawaii Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), as well as delaying tax refunds and Medicaid payments for Fiscal Year 2009 and possibly increasing and taxes.

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