New tax district could help fund Maui erosion restoration

WAILUKU — A new county financing tool could be used to raise millions of dollars for a project to restore part of the Maui coastline damaged by erosion, officials said.

The Maui County Planning Department and the Kahana Bay Steering Committee want to establish a community facilities district, The Maui News reported Tuesday.

The community facilities district would help fund the erosion project through a special tax on property owners within its boundaries, officials said.

The plan was presented Monday to a Maui County Council committee, which did not take immediate action.

The Kahana Bay coastline has been eroded by rising sea levels, frequent storms and seawalls built to protect condominiums, officials said.

The Kahana Bay Steering Committee represents nine oceanfront condominiums and one land parcel in the area, officials said.

The beach revitalization project is projected to cost between $19 million and $30 million, officials said.

Community facilities districts are a form of public/private partnership and can significantly lower the upfront cost of public infrastructure to support new developments. The financing can also help construction of lower cost homes and other community amenities, officials said.

“CFDs can be a way for residents to work with the county government to fund infrastructure needs in their neighborhoods,” said Alice Lee, the county council’s Water and Infrastructure Committee chairwoman.

The planning department “strongly supports” the financing tool to fund the Kahana Bay project, Planning Director Michele McLean said.

Maui County would sell bonds with backing from the taxes, she said.

All four counties in Hawaii have adopted ordinances enabling the creation of the districts, although only one has formed.

The Kukui Ula Project on Kauai was formed in 2008. Kauai County sold its first bonds in 2012 to help fund road construction and improvements and a potable water system expansion.


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