July 1, 2019
Aloha West Maui Property Owner:
The question is, “What can I do or say to get your attention and desire to support our Call to Action for the West Maui Taxpayer’s Association Inc.”; (WMTA)?
I hope the answer is “I just got my property tax bill from the County of Maui and it’s an outrageous amount of increase with no justification for it’s magnitude.!” What crisis is being addressed by this??
No one seems to know!
This letter is being sent to you with an announcement of our New Campaign to restore prudent Fiscal Responsibility to Maui County immediately and if necessary, at the next election for the Maui County Council in 2020.
Did you get your new Property Tax Bill from the County of Maui yet?
The New Maui County Council passed New Tax Rates Effective July 1, 2019 as seen in the copy of Resolution No 19-89 attached and which represents the largest property tax increase in Maui’s history!
For the past 40 years, West Maui has paid over 50% of all the County of Maui budget for Property Tax Revenue. It’s significantly higher now as over 50% of all short-term rentals and Hotel and Time Shares are located in West Maui.
We are writing everyone we had on our mailing list since 2008 to respectfully suggest that you join us and to put your time and money into that support as soon as possible.
Thank you to our current members, supporters and our volunteer Board of Directors who have helped to shape WMTA into what it has become today and what’s needed for tomorrow.
Did you know that we have been without an Executive Director for 9 years? Our pervious Executive Directors were so crucial in our work to be able to have a face present at ALL the County meetings, community meetings, association meetings and more. Our goal is to be able to raise funds to hire a new Executive Director so that we can continue to be a driving active force in brining needed resources to our community.
As a Founding Member, and President, of the West Maui Taxpayers Association, I have and always will continue to fight for West Maui.
The top three priorities in the 40 years has always been:
Affordable Housing: A recent “win” we got was regarding the Front Street Apartments. The eviction of more than 250 tenants at Front Street Apartments in Lahaina was on the line – we could not let that happen. Because of our support and the support of many others, the state Legislature passed a bill to have the property purchased and kept in perpetuity for low-income housing for the working poor. The eviction has been stopped. House Bill 543 has gone to Gov. David Ige who signed it and it’s now in effect. Hopefully, this sets a precedent for other affordable housing projects, current and those to come.
Transportation: West Maui is isolated as it is, with only one main road brining us into Lahaina, and out of Lahaina. It was the WMTA who started the discussions for a Lahaina Bypass over 38 years ago. The Lahaina Bypass today, was not what we fought for as the most important section from Keawe street to Kaanapali is not yet underway. Although not yet completed, the partial development of it, still left us with one way in, and one way out. With that bypass, it also brought more traffic to existing roads that became “exit roads” causing more traffic issues – mainly Keawe Street and Lahainaluna Road. We must continue to ensure safe roads!
Infrastructure-Health and Safety: Fires and Floods in West Maui has elevated our concerns for the Health and Safety for West Maui residents and visitors. We have met with the community for over a year to make an Emergency Disaster Plan. A final draft is available on our web site at http://www.westmaui.org/home/emergency-planning.
The WMTA started the effort to bring a hospital to west maui and while we literally “did the impossible,” and assisted in obtaining a Certificate of Need for one; it seems to be currently stuck without financing and may not be completed as stated in that Certificate of Need. We will continue to seek access to Emergency Health Care for West Maui!
WEST MAUI EMERGENCY PLANNING- It's Hurricane Season NOW! -- Failing to prepare to plan is planning to fail!
We met with the Mayor and asked him to be sure to let us work together with the Maui Emergency Management Agency, (MEMA), and to use the WMTA and our plan as a resource as we examine an After Action Report on the recent fires and flooding issues. We lobbied the County Council to add two (2) persons to the MEMA staff. Hurricane season is just around the corner. The brush has grown back where the fires were and become another fire hazard waiting to happen. We need to find out what went right and what went wrong during these last fires and floods. Preparing in advance and placing importance on that now can literally save lives!
Through all the leg work, testifying, community rallies we have done we have made small improvements, but with an ever-growing population and visitors in the islands, we need more.
The West Maui Community Plan (planning for the next 20 years), is in the works. A Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), has been formed to be a voice on this plan that will become law. I have been chosen to be on the committee which brings hope because all that we have fought for now is closer to reality; as the committee meets and discusses what will go in the plan. The West Maui Community Plan will become law.
Together, we can make a difference! Membership Dues are the foundation of our organization, as it allows us the necessities to keep our administrative books in order, keep our presence in the community and important meetings. Today, we ask you go to beyond that. In addition, we want your support to our Political Action Effort for the 2020 elections to provide you with our recommendations of who on the County Council and other governmental representatives should be elected who understand fiscal responsibility and Action over political rhetoric. We have saved West Maui Property Owners Millions of Dollars in reduced fire insurance premiums when we built our own Napili Fire and Ambulance Station. Lives have been saved. Please consider how much money we saved you already. We know people who say that the Ambulance from Napili literally saved their lives. How much support from you is that worth? We ask you to join us in meeting our goal of $250,000 for our Political Campaign and hiring an Executive Director.
You can be a part of the solution or part of the problem. The choice is up to you. Please choose wisely and send us a generous donation today. Mahalo!
Warmest Regards and Aloha,
Joseph D Pluta, President, WMTA
"The Lahaina Bypass 1B-2 Project is scheduled to be "operational" some time early in the first quarter of 2018.
The WMTA is concerned about the "unintended consequences" of the project designed to improve traffic through the area.
Of particular concern is the closure of the substantial amount of existing Honoapiilani Highway between the "new" South
Connector road being built and the new on ramp to the by pass coming into West Maui. Forcing traffic flow changes and taking away
the option to use the existing highway by closed gate except for some allowance currently being designed for an "emergency exception"
seems not to have been thoroughly examined. The "emergency exception" we understand was negotiated by Senator Roz Baker with
State DOT, and we are somewhat relieved and encouraged by that. That "emergency option," may be needed more than the planners
Of added concern is the Keawe Street impacts which we do not believe have been adequately provided for with the increased traffic flow.
The reconfiguration of an existing lane to a dedicated right turn only lane is more complicated and we are very concerned about this making an
already dangerous traffic area unduly unsafe as currently designed.
We are hoping to work with the State to attempt to mitigate our concerns and ask for remedies to improve on the existing plans. We will also invite them to
participate with us at our Annual Meeting on January 9, 2018 at the West Maui Senior Center at 5pm."
Please see the links following for detailed information.
Joe Pluta, President Emeritus, V.P. WMTA