Support the Acquisition of Two New Ambulances to Service the City and County of Honolulu

22 02 2018

The Honolulu City Council passed Resolution 17-321 which urges the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) selection committee to allocate CDBG funds to acquire two new ambulances for use in low-and moderate-income communities in fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The resolution also asks the City Administration to fund the operation of the ambulances through increased state funding for ambulance services.

Under the State Comprehensive Emergency Medical System the State Department of Health may contract with the county for emergency ambulance services. Currently the City and County of Honolulu contracts with the State to provide its own emergency ambulance services and is reimbursed by the State for the expenses of the ambulance services. The contract also sets the maximum amount of the reimbursement for the contract period as well as the minimum number of ambulance units that must be in service.

According to an October 20, 2017 report produced by Matt Levi Investigates, the Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS) has only twenty ambulances to respond to emergencies and to transport sick and injured persons to medical facilities for the entire island of Oahu.

With a resident population on Oahu of almost one million and a visitor population annually of over nine million to the State, EMS is not able to adequately or efficiently respond to all calls for services especially when ambulances are needed for calls within and outside of their assigned areas. This includes calls to outside low-and moderate-income communities.

Since the City and County of Honolulu is annually allocated CDBG funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and these funds are for activities benefitting low-and moderate-income persons, the Honolulu City Council urges the City Administration to submit requests for CDBG funding for the two new ambulances to the CDBG and HOME Projects Selection Committee.

The Honolulu City Council also encourages the City Administration to work with the State on the emergency ambulance services contract to increase the maximum reimbursement for ambulance services to cover the operation costs, and personnel costs of the additional ambulances. If the State doesn’t agree to provide additional funding, the City Administration should expend City funds to cover the operational costs of the additional ambulances.

Providing essential services should be a priority when it comes to the health, safety and overall well-being of our communities. Encourage the City Administration to support the acquisition of two new ambulances.





Kupuna Caregiver Financial Support

14 02 2018

The Department of Community Services’ Elderly Affairs Division announced that it has launched the Kupuna Caregiver Pilot Program to help support working persons who also provide care to elders.

To be eligible caregivers must be employed at least 30 hours a week and provide care to a frail elder 60 years of age or older. The program benefit is limited to $70 worth of services per day and continues through June 30, 2018. The amount allocated to the City and County of Honolulu by the State of Hawaii is estimated to benefit 38 caregivers and priority will be given to applicants with the greatest caregiver burden and the most economic and social need.

With this pilot funding the city has chosen to provide Adult Day Care services. This service provides relief to a working caregiver by providing all-day supervision to a senior in a safe and comfortable environment. The $70 per day benefit would cover all or most of the cost of this service, which includes meals, on-site activities for physical strengthening, mental stimulation, socialization and recreation. For the caregiver it provides peace of mind, the freedom to continue working and a way to reduce anxiety and stress. Some of the city’s contracted day care providers are also able to assist with personal care, toileting, and/or incontinence.

Assisting 38 caregivers with this pilot program demonstrates the practical impact of government support to the many thousands of family caregivers on Oahu who are currently working. The data collected during this pilot program will provide valuable information on Oahu’s working caregiver population, including the level of need, effects on the workforce, and how support for caregivers should be targeted in the future. In response to the state of Hawaii’s announcement of the program’s launch, the Elderly Affairs Division has already received over one thousand calls from interested caregivers. Many have already been assessed for eligibility and the first participant is expected to start the program this week.

Legislation to continue and expand the program is currently being considered by the Hawaii State Legislature, and working caregivers are encouraged to contact their senators and representatives for more information or to voice their continued support.

Additional information on the program is available on the Elderly Affairs Division’s website at www.elderlyaffairs.com or by calling the Senior Helpline at 768-7700.





Tax Advisory Commission Calls for Public Input as It Reviews City Real Property Tax System

1 09 2017

The 2017 Oahu Real Property Tax Advisory Commission is calling for the public’s input as it conducts a comprehensive review of the City’s real property tax system. The Commission must submit written recommendations to the City Council by December 1, 2017.

“The public’s input is critical to this process if we are to fulfill our mission,” said Commission Chair Dennis Oshiro. “I believe all property owners have a perspective on how we can improve the system and we are actively seeking their advice.

Real property taxes are the primary source of revenue for the City and County of Honolulu. The tax system features various classes of property, as well as numerous exemptions and credits, which must be reviewed periodically to ensure that the system is as equitable and efficient as possible, Oshiro added.

In 2011 the City Council created the Oahu Real Property Tax Advisory Commission to advise and assist the Council by conducting a biennial review of the City’s real property tax system. The last report from the Commission was in November 2014.

In May the Council adopted Resolution 17-112 reestablishing the Commission and requiring that it issue a new report by December 1. The 2017 Commission met for the first time in July. Its next meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2017, in the City Council Committee Room on the second floor of Honolulu Hale.
The public is encouraged to submit oral and written testimony. Written testimony may be sent to Commission aide Todd Swisher via e-mail at todd.swisher@honolulu.gov.





New proposals to legalize vacation rentals, hike taxes and fines

14 06 2017

Some say it’s the lack of city enforcement, and the practice of letting scofflaws off easy on fines that has changed the landscape of vacation rentals on Oahu. Bitter battles have been long fought …

Source: New proposals to legalize vacation rentals, hike taxes and fines





Share Your Ideas With The Charter Commission

27 06 2016

CharterCommissionAd

Agenda for the Monday, June 27th meeting.

Agenda for the Wednesday, June 30th meeting.

Agenda for the Friday, July 1st meeting.

Agenda for the Wednesday, July 6th meeting will be added when the Charter Commission posts their agenda.





Chinatown Senior Housing Project Needs Public Vetting

17 02 2016

In Tuesday’s editorial, “Don’t Block Chinatown Senior Housing Project,” the Honolulu Star Advertiser did not consider all of the circumstances surrounding the proposed development before passing judgment.

The Honolulu City Council first adopted a resolution requesting the mayor to come up with a Special Area Plan for Chinatown in January of 2010. In June of that year, the City Council adopted ordinance 10-12 (Bill 16 (2010), CD2) that further directed the mayor to create an affordable housing project on River Street. That was six years ago!

When the mayor sent out a press release on November 9th of last year announcing the $49 million development agreement, it was the first time that we learned that a developer was selected and negotiations completed.  Given that the Council did not have committee meetings in December, the earliest this proposal could have been considered was last month. Additionally, our February 17th meeting is scheduled at Kapolei Hale, a location that may limit public participation from the Chinatown community on this matter.

Given these facts, to assert that the Council may have scuttled the development by stalling for political purposes is false and misleading.

The Chinatown community is passionate and the views they represent should be heard before the full council, a position that Councilmember Carol Fukunaga has vigorously advocated for. It would be irresponsible to fast track a $49 million project without having such a public on-the-record discussion.





Public Ownership of Electric Utility

4 09 2015

Here is a link to Council Chair Ernest Martin’s resolution 15-214 regarding the Council’s intent to consider all options regarding the provision of electric service, including the investigation of municipal or cooperative public ownership on the island of Oahu.