Mayor Bissen Delivers First State of the County Address

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen delivered his first state of the county address on the lawn at the Kalana O Maui Building on Tuesday.

The assembled crowd, seated on metal folding chairs, featured multiple councilmembers and other current and past local officials, such as former mayors Alan Arakawa and Mike Victorino, all of whom were acknowledged to applause before Mayor Bissen began his remarks.

After a few jokes that drew a smattering of obligatory chuckles, Bissen addressed a few key issues that may indicate the priorities of his administration.

One of the most significant lines in his address: “My administration is working with the respected non-profit Trust for Public Lands to seek ownership of valuable watershed and conservation lands in Nā Wai ʻEhā and we are speaking with and seeking the acquisition of the Wailuku Water Company.” That would have rippling effects for water-rights management.

Bissen also put forth a proposal to increase the county’s emergency fund to $40 million dollars, up from the $3 million allocated last year. Other points included managing the axis deer population, meeting the needs of Maui’s houseless population, and resolving the ongoing struggle over the Kūlanihākoʻi High School in South Maui.

After the conclusion of his address, Mayor Bissen spoke briefly with MauiTimes and expressed a desire to have an open line of communication between his office and the media.

We hope that desire is sincere.



Jacob Shafer