‘This is badly needed’

LIHUE — A few Kauai residents sounded off Wednesday on a resolution that would give residents the authority to decide how the county should pay for road repair projects.

“I want to encourage the council to be proactive,” said Bruce Hart. “We killed the General Excise Tax, but we can’t say we’ll do nothing. The roads need to be repaired, and I think this is a really good option to do that.”

In May, the Kauai County Council voted 4-3 to reject a quarter-percent GET hike to address $100 million worth of backlogged road repair. The county is seeking another solution to the infrastructure issue through Resolution No. 2016-48 introduced by Councilman KipuKai Kuali’i.

If passed, Kauai voters would decide if the county should create a County Roads Resurfacing/Reconstruction Backlog Fund, which would make up 1 percent of the annual real property tax and 6 percent of the annual transient accommodation tax, or TAT.

According to the resolution, monies from real property tax and TAT will be appropriated to the fund for a period of 20 years, and will not be sued for any other purpose. At the end of 20 years, any remaining balance will be transferred to the General Fund.

While speakers at Wednesday’s public hearing supported the resolution, they asked the council to properly vet the bill so there wouldn’t be a way for the money to be used for another purpose.

“Just continue to work on it so you have it tight and all of the concerns are addressed,” Hart said.

Glenn Mickens agreed.

“This resolution is something that is badly needed, but let’s not ‘ready, fire, aim’ until it’s properly worded,” he said.

Mickens voiced concerns about part of the resolution that says the mayor can transfer some of the monies from the County Roads Resurfacing/Reconstruction Backlog Fund to another county department.

“If this means the funding can be altered by the mayor for any other purpose besides road resurfacing, I do not support it,” Mickens said. “There should be added wording that the money be put in a lockbox, and not be used for any other purpose.”

Mickens also suggested money generated from the vehicle weight and fuel taxes be appropriated to the County Roads Resurfacing/Reconstruction Backlog Fund.

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