WAILUKU, Hawaii – Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura expressed her support for several important Capital Improvement Projects included in Mayor Michael Victorino’s Fiscal Year budget proposal. The projects include the Department of Water Supply’s Upper Kula Transmission Improvements, the Department of Environmental Management’s Kihei Land Application System, and the Department of Management’s Hālau of ʻŌiwi Arts.
“The County Council is tasked with approving a balanced budget that meets the needs of our community within our ability to pay,” said Sugimura. “With a proposed budget of over $1 billion, we will need to make tough decisions to ensure our county resources are being utilized in the most cost-effective way.”
The Upper Kula Transmission Improvements will upgrade and replace portions of the system that suffered severe damaged during the Kona Low storm event in December of 2021.
“Many upcountry residents were left without reliable and safe drinking water for over a month following the December storm,” shared Sugimura. “Improvements to our aging water infrastructure are sorely needed.”
The Kihei Land Application System aims to use R-1 recycled water produced by the Kihei Wastewater Reclamation Facility for irrigation of drought affected land mauka of the facility.
“The Kihei Land Application System project has a number of benefits,” added Sugimura. “This project will lead to productive reuse of R-1 water by irrigating land that has been left fallow due to prolonged drought and damage from feral animals such as axis deer. This in turn will lead to a reduction in significant runoff from heavy rain that makes its way down to our shoreline areas.”
The Hālau of ʻŌiwi Arts is to be situated in Wailuku town, at the corner of Church and Vineyard streets, with approximately 47,000 square feet of hula, community gathering, performance, office, and retail space.
“This facility would address the lack of a dedicated County space for the practice of Hula and ʻŌiwi arts while also accomplishing so much more,” further added Sugimura. “This project reflects the County Council’s commitment to supporting efforts to protect and advance the practice of Hula and Hawaiian culture that was reaffirmed by the body’s approval of Resolution 21-161 in November of 2021 supporting the Huamakahikina Declaration.”
The proposed project is the result of a truly collaborative process between multiple widely respected Kumu Hula, community partners and the County, with support from the business community.
“Seeing so many of our leaders come together from the hula community and elsewhere, for a great purpose is inspiring,” added Sugimura. “The Hālau of ʻŌiwi Arts fits perfectly with the vision that emerged out of the re-Wailuku revitalization efforts along with the original plans of the Wailuku Civic Complex.
“As someone who grew up in Wailuku, I believe there is no better way to reenergize downtown than through culture and the arts,” shared Sugimura, who will be proposing the creation of a broader Wailuku Arts District during the Council’s budget deliberations.
The Council’s Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee will continue its review of the Mayor’s proposed budget throughout the month of April, with meetings beginning at 9 am daily. The public is encouraged to provide testimony on any topics related to the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. For a full list of options to provide testimony, in-person, remotely, or written, please visit mauicounty.us.
“With a proposed budget of over $1 billion, it is the Council’s duty to explore the most cost-effective means to finance such important and impactful projects.” concluded Sugimura. “I look forward to working with my colleagues as we navigate our annual budget review process.”
For more information please feel free to contact Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura’s cell (808) 870-8047, office (808) 270-7939 or by emailing YukiLei.Sugimura@MauiCounty.us.
*Yuki Lei Sugimura holds the Maui County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area.
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