Council approves $5M for recovery

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Officials from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and FEMA presented information Wednesday during the Kauai County Council meeting on how their agencies can assist in the flood relief effort. From left are Lorinda Wong-Lau, Casey De Shong and Vern Miyagi.

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council approved a $5 million emergency ordinance Wednesday to help pay for recovery from flooding that devastated much of the North Shore.

The administration can ask for an additional $14 million from the County’s Reserve Fund.

“This is the worst natural disaster that has occurred on Kauai in the last 25 years and the recovery and rebuild effort is going to be incredible and is currently incredible,” said Wally Rezentes Jr., county managing director. “As we move forward, the rebuilding process will be expensive and it will take a long time to complete,”

The administration is estimating FEMA will cover 75 percent of eligible government infrastructure costs, but those monies will come on the back end as reimbursements.

“So we need to front county funds toward our efforts,” said Rezentes.

Though their damage assessment isn’t complete because officials have been unable to reach specific areas, preliminary assessments indicate 66 homes sustained damages during the storm, while many homes were destroyed.

Council Chair Mel Rapozo said he wanted to find out on behalf of the public and to make it really clear as to what the $5 million is to be used for.

“I’m assuming that a lot of these bins and removals of stuff is being charged against the county’s account,” Rapozo said.

Vice Chair Ross Kagawa also asked if they knew exactly where the money would be going, because he said he’d rather take the time to fix things the right way first, then to have to go back and do it again.

“I’m a little uncomfortable not having something on paper,” Kagawa said.

With amendment in hand to increase the funding to $10 million, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura inquired as to whether the $5 million being requested was enough. After an oftentimes heated discussion, when it was made clear the county could ask for further funding, Yukimura withdrew her amendment.

The county’s Reserve Fund contains $43 million, with $14 million identified for disaster response, said Kim Tamaoka, county spokeswoman. That does not preclude the county from utilizing more than $14 million toward the disaster, she said.


Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or

  1. Jake April 26, 2018 6:36 am Reply

    Ah gee, JoAnne, …..really? “It’s not my money, sooooo, let’s double down on the recovery funds from $5 million to $10 million”!!

    Nice stunt having an Amendment in hand to “double down”. You are the definition of “Pandering”.

  2. MoneySpent April 26, 2018 7:21 am Reply

    The money is gonna be spent on BS. Just like what’s going on with all the road construction, county gas theft, missing 1 million dollar that miraculously appeared through siphoning from another account.

    The county of Kauai is beyond repair. Too many greedy people finding ways to get theirs.

    Job security is BS on how they run jobs and projects in Kauai. In any other legitimate ran county government, things like fraud, waste and abuse would be monitored.

    Ask yourselves why hasn’t the county of Kauai found and hired a Certified Professional Accountant? The county press release was they couldn’t find a candidate and no one would take the job.

    There was a rebuttal written by the wife of a candidate that was told that the county f Kauai selected a more experienced and better qualified individual.

    The person should have sued the county of Kauai for discrimination and lying that the job was filled.

    Money is spent on Kauai like a teenager going to the mall and given free reigns to a credit card.

    Everyone knows this and nothing is done.

    No can help when we have the same people/families that are unqualified and under qualified to represent the county as public servant employees.

    1. No_They_Didn't April 26, 2018 3:09 pm Reply

      In 1994, the news paper wrote about Ross Kagawa then. He was an accountant then. UH. What happened? Catch the Dream, Lance Tominaga. 2007.

  3. No_They_Didn't April 26, 2018 1:33 pm Reply

    We’re not dumb. Nosotros estamos contentos. By any chance this fits into the equation.

    Happy for Kauai. Tan exaltado que se bajo contentos. When will they pick up the check? $5 million dollars. Refunds going around for efforts made to relief efforts. Si…

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