Letters for Oct. 22, 2014

• Thanks to Civil Defense team • County response didn’t address the real issues

Thanks to Civil Defense team

Kauai dodged a bullet last weekend, a big bullet based on the size of Hurricane Ana. Kauai Civil Defense began briefing our stakeholders daily on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and by Friday, Oct. 17 we knew it was going to be a long weekend.

We are so fortunate to have an amazing group of professionals that report to Civil Defense and put in very long hours for the protection and safety of our residents and visitors. The Civil Defense team, Mayor Carvalho and his county department heads, the County PIOs, Kauai Police Department, Kauai Fire Department, including the lifeguards who stayed late at our beaches, Lihue Airport Manager and Nawiliwili Harbor Manager, Bill Arakaki and his DOE dedicated principals/staff, AMR Paramedics, American Red Cross, FEMA and my team at the Kauai Visitors Bureau, as well as our visitor industry partners were some of those who gave up their weekend to ensure we were doing all we could to respond to the storm. Also, thanks to the Kauai Humane Society who opened their shelter for pets and the Kauai Community College, who was on standby as a shelter.

Kauai is very blessed to have a group of incredible professionals who drop everything to be available to plan and respond to the needs of this island. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who did what they could to keep our island safe in the midst of Hurricane Ana.

Sue Kanoho

Executive Director

Kauai Visitors Bureau

County response didn’t address the real issues

I have great respect for our finance director, Steve Hunt, and the job he has done since coming into office. But his criticism of Walter Lewis’ “A Better Kauai” column of Oct. 10 in his article in the TGI Forum of Oct.18 was misdirected and overreacted. Mr. Lewis’ column was written to support the restoration of the limit that had protected our Homestead class resident owners for a number of years before its 2013 repeal.

Mr. Hunt did not choose to address the good reasons Mr. Lewis mentioned justifying the restoration. Instead he gave several instances where he believed that Mr. Lewis’ article was factually incorrect even though his contentions were picayune and largely unrelated to the issues raised by Mr. Lewis. Mostly Mr. Hunt misquoted what Mr. Lewis had said and although Mr. Lewis was referring to the Homestead class taxpayers Mr. Hunt was addressing a broader group.

In his article, Lewis made the point that until 2013 the council had kept taxes for the Homestead class well below their share of assessed valuations and should continue to do so. He noted that Homestead class taxes were about $10 million. Mr. Hunt triumphantly noted that in 2013 Homestead class taxes were $11 million. Mr. Lewis’ point would be valid with either number.

Our Finance Department should properly be concerned about the total amount of revenues the county obtains from its property taxes. But it is the duty of the council to determine a fair allocation of such taxes among the county’s taxpayers and this is not a function of the administration.

If Mr. Hunt wanted to enlighten us, he should have tried to explain his seemingly absurd observation to the effect that although the county gained about $1.2 million revenue by the repeal of the cap, it would cost $6 million to restore it.

I would prefer that Steve Hunt devote his talents to finding ways for the county to reduce its costs instead of intervening in the council’s function under the Charter to set the laws to allocate the property taxes among our taxpayers.

Walter’s articles over the years have recommended nothing but positive changes for making Kauai a better place for all of us to live.

Glenn Mickens

Kapaa

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