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County Budget Mana`o

Money is short, but the ideas and motivation of Molokai’s youth do not seem to be.  The Maui County Council presented the next fiscal year’s (FY) budget for public mana`o, and students and young entrepreneurs were among those who spoke in support of Molokai programs.

Last month, Mayor Alan Arakawa proposed a $632 million budget for FY 2012.

County operations will be allocated $475.3 million and $157.7 million will go toward capital improvement projects, according the county website.

Molokai will receive $1.6 million in capital improvement projects. 

A wide array of island residents all their own ideas on how citizen’s tax dollars should be spent – the county council heard nearly 50 public testimonies at Mitchell Pauole Center during a two-hour long discussion.

Small Business

The Kaneshiros, a family of six, has five business’ of their own, and they credit the Kuha`o Business Center in downtown Kaunakakai for their success.

The family asked for continued funding of Kuha`o, which has helped with the success of their honeybee company.

The Kaneshiro children — Elijiah, 17, Tabitha, 13, Elisabeth, 10, and Esther, 8 – all have their own business as well – producing salad dressing, candles, perfume and lip balm.

Councilman Donald Couch said he sees the importance of small businesses.

“We want to help them in any way that keeps them alive,” he said.

Bucks for Robotics
Several students’ presented before the council and asked them to continue funding Maui Economic Development Board-Women in Technology (MEDB-WIT).

Moriah Jenkins, a junior at Molokai High School was there to support the robotics program.
Stemming from her early involvement in the program, Jenkins walked away with a scholarship at the state Science and Engineering Fair a few weeks ago.

“I want to pursue a career in bio-engineering. I want to create tools for doctors,” Jenkins said.

One parent, Margret Fox, is elated with the progress her daughter has made with the help of robotics.

“We can’t fundraise to send children to Oahu and Maui anymore. We are fundraised out,” Fox said. “[Before the robotics program] I’ve never seen 15 to 20 kids say, ‘I want to be an engineer.’ They are changing the future of Molokai.”

Humane Society Needs
Residents also more funding for the Molokai Humane Society.

Currently, the animal care organization receives $40,000 a year from the Maui Humane Society, which received about $1.8 million in 2008-09 (last financial report available) a year from the county, according to Molokai board vice-president, Mathew Goodrich.

“We are getting the money from [Maui Humane Society] out of the kindness of their hearts,” Goodrich said.

Molokai’s shelter currently operates out of a container along Maunaloa Highway, but board members hope to find a permanent location soon. The organization has been called vital to controlling the island’s feral cat population.

Preservation of educational programs, continued funding for Molokai Occupational Center and extended landfill hours were a few of the many other requests made for this year’s budget.

The county council will have until June 10 to approve the budget, which will go into effect July 1.

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