2% Land Fund Report – March 2017

2% Land Fund REPORT (PUBLIC ACCESS AND OPEN SPACE) PONC FUND as of March 2017 with much left to acquire!

GREAT SUCCESSES IN LAND ACQUISITION!

PROPERTIES ACQUIRED: 10  

PROPERTIES SUBMITTED FOR ACQUISITION: 166

LAND ACQUIRED: 4,428 acres of land acquired that was suggested by members of the community.

MONEY SPENT: County of Hawaii 2% Land Fund         $27,389,268.

                             Grants from Matching funds*               $8,764,083.

                             Private funds:                                              $2,000,000

*From US Fish and Wildlife to protect lands for Endangered Species, State Legacy Lands $7,434,083 actually received, $1,330,000. Pending from Legacy Lands for Wai’opae, Puna.

To view the Acquisition Status Report go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84954/2016-11-14%20PONC%20Acquisition%20Status%20Report.pdf  

MATCHING FUNDS- My opinion: The highest and best use of 2% of taxpayer’s funds is to use the 2% Land Fund to get dollar for dollar matching funds, to date the County has only gotten 1 dollar for every 3 dollars spent for taxpayers OR only 32% of the money spent is from grants.   The County could do better at applying for matching funds.

QUICK HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION FROM 2005 to 2016:

  1. The Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee collected almost 10,000 signatures from April to July of 2006. The County Clerk at the time Connie Kiriu and County Counsel Lincoln Ashida disqualified almost 6,000 signatures for leaving off the year and leaving off Pl, St. or Rd.
  2. We needed 4,400 signatures which we didn’t get, but the County Council decided to place the ballot measure on the ballot for 2006. Despite the County Counsel submitting confusing  ballot language  containing double negatives, the amendment to the Code passed by 56%,  of voters who voted on the issue, as part of the Hawaii County Code.
  3. 2008- Mayor Kenoi suspended deposits to the Fund for two years as the first piece of legislation submitted after he took office. We pointed out that there were more than 260 funded but unfilled job in his budget, but he failed to reinstate payments to the 2% Land Fund.
  4. 2010- Charter Commission put on the ballot as the 1% Land Fund- again passed by 56% of voters.
  5. 2012- In order to honor all the people who signed the petitions and worked so hard over the years, we felt we needed to put the 2% Land Fund  back on the ballot as a Charter amendment so that the Land Fund could only be unfunded by a vote of the people.  Again,  56% of voters  approved the measure, together with  a 1/4% Maintenance Fund. As part of this legislation, a covenant runs with all of the 2% Land Fund acquisitions that these lands are to be held in perpetuity for the citizens of the County of Hawaii and cannot be sold, traded, mortgaged etc
  6. The Maintenance Fund was clairfied in the Hawaii County Code in 2016 to allow the Open Space Commission to review Stewardship Grants and to recommend what grants to approve to the Director of Finance.

GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZING PROCESS to pass the ballot measure:

  • We had more than 100 people that collected signatures of more than 50 signatures each in 2006.
  • We had a 3,000 personal email list which we used to inform our supporters or  if we needed emails, people showing up for public meetings or lobbying their Council members.   These 3,000 people were asked to contact their email list. They represent about 10% of the voting public on the island. (There have been approximately 100,000 voters registered for the County of Hawaii, usually about 33,000 of these registered voters actually vote, therefore 3,000 supporters is 10% of the vote.)

PROPERTIES SUBMITTED TO THE PONC COMMISSION TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ACQUISITION as of December 28, 2016: This information came from the Comprehensive List of Properties http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84955/2016-12-28%20PONC%20Comprehensive%20List%20of%20Properties%20Submitted%20by%20the%20Public.pdf

Puna area: 16 properties

South Hilo area: 16 properties

North Hilo: 7 properties

Hamakua: 19 properties

North Kohala: 26 properties

South Kohala: 17 properties

North Kona: 27 properties

South Kona: 13 properties

Ka’u: 25 properties

Total Properties submitted for the entire island: 166

THE LAND ACQUISITION PROCESS:

The Community recommends a property to the Public Access and Open Space Commission, here is the process and links to the application:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/84953/Process%20for%20Property%20Acquisition%20with%20Funds%20from%20the%20PONC%20Fund.pdf

PONC STEWARDSHIP GRANT: Properties that are acquired with Land Fund monies can apply for maintenance funds. Here a is a link to the application. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/edoc/80189/PONC%20Stewardship%20Grant%20Request%20Form%20(application%20period%20801%20-%2083116).pdf

THE HAWAII COUNTY CARTER AND THE HAWAII COUNTY CODE: which regulates the 2% Land Fund (PONC) and the PONC Maintenance Fund go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1

Submitted by Debbie Hecht, Campaign Coordinator Save Our Lands Citizen’s Committee Hecht.deb@gmail.com

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