A government watchdog was poised to ask the Kaua‘i County Council to dispense with politics and use common sense in deciding which county roads should be repaved.
At issue could be savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars for other county projects, Wailua resident Glenn Mickens said.
During a council meeting at the historic County Building, Mickens also said the county may have wasted money by using costly and inefficient methods for incremental repaving of 300 miles of roads over the years.
“Basically, I have researched and asked these same questions for over 10 years and I suppose that someone with less fortitude would have given up long ago,” Mickens said in a statement.
His comments came up during a discussion on a request by a Public Works official for the council to provide $118,200 to repave Kuai Road in Po‘ipu, Malu Road in Kapa‘a and Weliweli Road in Koloa.
Councilman Jay Furfaro said the proposed Po‘ipu project has importance to residents and that he wanted a response from county administration officials as soon as possible.
“I would like to resolve it today, but I would like to hear from the roads division,” Furfaro said, referring to the county division of the Public Works Department.
Councilman Tim Bynum said Anahola residents also have sought periodic repaving of Kealia Road as an alternate inland route in case of accidents on the coastal highway.
The council took up the matter at press time.
Mickens, who has been criticized by county officials and some residents for being one-sided on issues, said outdated repaving methods have led to residents “being cheated out of a lot of money.”
Because county funds are limited, government needs to resurface roads that have the highest usage, he said.
But in driving the island, it will become evident to anyone that “politics and other factors” dictate which roads get worked on, he said.
“For instance, Haleilio Road has been paved two or three times in the last 15 years and didn’t need it,” he said of the road in Wailua Houselots. “Ask (Councilman Mel) Rapozo, who once lived there.”
Mickens said an even greater violation occurred with the county spending $280,000 to repave Kealia Road, near the future site of a one-of-kind agricultural subdivision boasting tea and agricultural crops for sale and — in some cases — export.
“If that is the reason for paving it then the developer, not the taxpayer, should have paid for it,” Mickens said.
The county road repaving list needs careful scrutiny, justification and oversight before the council approves funds, Mickens said, and the county should secure an independent roadway expert who can offer recommendations on the paving and repaving of roads.