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Hecht: Testify to reinstate 2% Land Fund

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Debbie Hecht, Save our Lands Citizen’s Committee Campaign Coordinator

Aloha 2% Supporters:

The Hawaii County Council meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 20 at the Sheraton Keauhou. There will be video-conferencing from Hilo only. The first order of business that morning will be Communication 687.1 Report from the Charter Commission.

The 2% Land Fund is now the 1% Land Fund (approximately $2 million per year). If this upsets you, please show up to testify or send an e-mail to the County Council and the mayor. Please asks the Council to recommend the Charter Commission reinstate the 2% amount.

My testimony to the Hawaii County Council:

As you know the charter commission has been meeting since January. Many of the 2% supporters have attended almost every meeting. We are very frustrated. Over 100 people sent emails to the commission and at 100 people took time out of their busy lives to show up and testify in front of the commission. All of these voters testified about a 2% Land Fund, not a ½% Land Fund and not a 1% Land Fund.

We ask that you recommend that the charter commission reinstate the 2% amount, as voters approved by 63% in 2006. People in your districts are upset that you cut the 2% deposits for 2 years. This will be a campaign issue for the 2010 campaign season.

Please recommend that the charter commission include the following in their proposed charter amendment CA-15 The Land Fund:

The amount that shall be deposited at least twice per year shall be 2% of property taxes including penalties and interest.

The land Fund shall be an Interest bearing account. We heard testimony that the Finance department does this anyway, but unless it is in the legislation this is not a requirement.

Land Fund monies shall be used for acquisition only and not for development or maintenance of properties.

To protect the lands purchased by taxpayers money, we must have a clause to protect these lands from being resold.

This clause that shall run with the land and be recorded as part of the Deed on all past and future purchases: “This property was purchased with monies from the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund. It shall be held in perpetuity for the use and enjoyment of the people of Hawaii County. This land may not be sold, mortgaged, traded or transferred in any way.”

This is necessary because we have seen that the State sells off conservation land in the regular course of business. Who’s to say that the county won’t start selling land to balance their budget? A good case in point is the sale of the Hamakua Sugar lands.

Mahalo,
Debbie Hecht

Contact Hecht at: twopercentforthelandfund@gmail…

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