Upcoming Agenda: What’s at risk for the 2% land fund? 2 STAFF MEMBERS.

Charter commission, FRIDAY JUNE 7 AT 9 am, HILO.  SEND TESTIMONY to Charter.commission@hawaiicounty.gov  What’s on the agenda?- everything for 2nd Reading  CA-9 and Ca-18.

CA-9:  What’s at risk?  ONE dedicated staff member to work only on the 2% land fund, in addition to the existing staff position provided in the Code to help PONC.

What we have:  (3) “Pay for the salary, wages and benefits of staff dedicated to advancing the Activities contained within this section and Section 10-16 of this charter.” This sounds okay but there are problems with the AMBIGUOUS LANGUAGE.  “STAFF” CAN MEAN ONE OR MANY STAFF PEOPLE

The Hopkins’s amendment says “staff” but that is ambiguous.  The clause does not define how many staff members.   One, two, ten staff people?  We want to make sure that only ONE staff member’s salary is subtracted from the 2% Land Fund so as not to diminish the money for acquisition. 

Right now there is one staff member provided in the Code to assist the Public Access and Open Space Commission.  This is a necessary position.  Our language says that this staff member will be in addition to the existing staff member.  Otherwise we may be paying for at least two “STAFF” positions, but potentially more than that!   Salary, wages and benefits would be more than $100,000 per year coming out of the monies that are right now slated for acquisition. 


·      Real estate deals are time sensitive and require willing sellers.  Willing sellers want to be paid as soon as possible because the taxes keep mounting up on property and they may have a use for the money.  It also takes time for the staff people to apply for matching funds, get appraisals, do surveys and all the due diligence required for property purchases by governments. 

·      The Maintenance Fund grants have been granted to only 6 organizations in the 6-year existence of the fund.   Stewardship groups say the process has been very difficult and they have had to apply several times before receiving funding.  A full time staff person can assist the non-profits with getting the funding they need to care for the 2% Lands.   Only 9% of all the money deposited in the Maintenance Fund from 2013 has been received by the stewardship non-profit groups. 


(3) “Pay for the salary, wages and benefits of one full-time staff member, employed by the Department of Finance dedicated only to advancing administering the activities contained within this section and Section 10-16 of this charter.  This is in addition to a staff person provided for in the Hawaii County Code to assist the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission.” 

CA-18- What’s at risk?  Across the board, every non-profit stewardship group wants to pay people to work on the land.  As their programs expand then they might need volunteer coordinators etc.  IF YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE APPLIED FOR GRANTS, PLEASE ASK THEM TO SPEAK ABOUT THE PROCESS and ABOUT HOW THEY NEED TO PAY PEOPLE.  

What we have now:  

[(5)](6)             No officer, board member, or employee the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or the organization that operates under the umbrella of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization shall receive a salary or payment for labor, or receive any reimbursement for the stewardship work on the project. The 501(c)3 nonprofit shall sign an agreement so stating these conditions and submit it with the application.

We hope to see you there!