Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
The Council's fiscal year 2023 budget session comes to a close at the start of a bright new spring season. 

It hasn't been a smooth road. Many of our local families continue to struggle, and we are exhausted by the pandemic, angered by brutal and unjust international events, and troubled by the perils of climate change.

Yet, despite an alarmingly bloated budget from the Mayor, we have also made some historic progress as a County. This draft budget continues to expand the horizon and promises new solutions to environmental and social problems. My budget proposals were a result of the community coming out to testify and providing input to me and my staff throughout the year. We listened, and crafted amendments to the Mayor's budget to meet the needs of those who were left out.

The answers tend to point in the same direction: to the realization that we can do a lot by harnessing that which is in our power. Faced with the current shortages and rising costs of shipping, energy, goods and services, we can and must invest locally – in community and in one another – to regionalize infrastructure and services to become stronger and more prosperous, self-sufficient and resilient.

We recently recognized Earth Day. It is a great time to celebrate our planet and the bounty it provides, but it's also a reminder that our earthly environmental efforts are really about providing for future generations and our fellow humans. Today and for the next decade, the escalating negative effects of climate change will require diligence on the part of every citizen to reuse, reduce or recycle “waste", switch to renewable energy where possible, minimize environmental footprint, participate in advocacy, and prepare for potential weather disasters.

I am elated that, with the support of my colleagues on the Council, we passed budget amendments to increase and direct funding for environmental protection grants, get the County off more than 80% of its licensed injection wells, establish safe zones or sleeping spaces for our vulnerable houseless population, study the feasibility of restoring a stream for a nature-based solution to erosion, and develop an actionable plan for economic diversification. These ideas were your ideas, and they are only a fraction of the good things the Council has at this date supported to fund in the next fiscal year.

I am again honored to have the opportunity to help direct the County's investment in community-based efforts to solve our social, environmental and economic challenges. My hope is that Maui County officials will honor the policies and projects in this ambitious budget and work with those of you who have brought these items to the forefront.  

Sustainably yours,
Virtual Community Meetings

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In the Virtual Chambers
Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Session Concludes
Council Endorses Environmental and Social Investment

Councilmember King proposed funding in the upcoming fiscal year 2023 budget for a wastewater project in Ma`alaea to get Maui off more than 80% of its licensed injection wells, a grant to establish safe zones for our houseless residents, grants including $600,000 for wetlands and $600,000 for watersheds to more than double environmental protection funding proposed by the Mayor, creation of an actionable plan to diversify our economy, and engineering and design to restore Kanaio stream to its natural course.

All of Councilmember King's Proposals Have Been Approved by the Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee!

Thank you to those who testified in support of these initiatives, and for coming to speak at the budget town hall held last month. Your input is what inspires Councilmember King's proposals and will help to improve our community!

The agendas for all budget sessions are here (click to visit).
The Council has until June 10 to pass its budget proposal and transmit it to the Mayor for his approval. First reading of the budget bill is expected in the second half of the month of May. For more information about the FY23 budget, visit
An Innovative Wastewater Solution in Ma`alaea

Ma`alaea Small Boat Harbor and Ma`alaea Beach are on the State’s list of impaired bodies of water. Waters are “impaired” when a water quality standard is not being attained. In an online waterbody report, the EPA states Ma`alaea Beach exceeds acceptable levels of bacteria and nitrates/nitrites.

The funding, which has been approved by the Council's budget committee for the State Revolving Fund list, will allow Ma`alaea to retire 22 injection wells while leveraging the historic investment in infrastructure provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“If this project can work for Ma`alaea it can be a model for the rest of the County, State, and world," King said.
Requiring Water and Energy Use Performance Benchmarking of County Buildings

Bill 23 was passed by the Maui County Council on March 7 and sets a requirement for all county facilities to begin annual reporting on energy use and performance benchmarks beginning on December 30, 2022 for buildings over 50,000 square feet, and June 1, 2023 for smaller facilities. The information must be available to the public, and if energy performance scores have not improved satisfactorily, the Department of Management will have to make recommendations to the Council for improvements. This sensible measure is a step forward to lowering the County's energy and water-use footprint!
Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Do you ever wonder what can be recycled on Maui, and what happens to all your waste after it is dropped off at a recycling or disposal center? The Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division of the Department of Environmental Management has the answers for you. Recycling and reuse is an important part of developing a circular economy and can help to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Division presented to CARE Committee about the County's recycling and waste management programs at the start of the year. Unfortunately, many of our recycling efforts are currently shipping items out of Maui, but we hope to change that as we fortify our EP&S Division with new funding for new ideas on how to increase on-island recycling in the near future.
Opportunities for Alternative, Sustainable Building Materials

Did you know that bamboo is a sustainable building material that is entirely recyclable and absorbs more CO2 than trees due to its fast growth rate? As a result of Councilmember King's initiative last year to fund a position in the Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability for a Green Building Specialist, the possibility of using this amazing building material and other sustainable options such as hemp has become a closer reality! Learn more in this CARE Committee meeting featuring County Green Building Specialist Hannah Shipman, premier bamboo architect David Sands, and Char O'Brien of Carbon Drawdown Solutions (click on their names to view their individual slide presentations).
Seabird Protections and Lighting Pollution Limits

Bill 21 would update the County's Outdoor Lighting Ordinance to add new lighting regulations to result in less seabird fallout (deaths from confused birds following bright and upward-shining lights). Native seabirds are rare species, important to Hawaiian culture, and critical in cycling nutrients in our island ecosystem. The bill will continue to be discussed in CARE Committee and presented again for a vote.
Wastewater Disinfection

Many people are shocked to learn that the water which is pumped into wastewater injection wells in Ma`alaea, Kihei, and Kahului does not undergo UV treatment, meaning that bacteria from wastewater is present in the injectate. We know from the Lahaina injection wells lawsuit that there is a connection between injection wells and coastal waters. Bill 52 would set a requirement that injected wastewater is disinfected to R-1 standards. It is an important measure to limit harm while the County transitions to more wastewater reuse!

Protecting Our Wetlands

The County Council recently advanced legislation introduced by CM King to map wetlands and expand County protections of these sensitive and important areas. In recent decades, significant amounts of wetlands in South Maui have been lost to development. As seen during the last year's Kona low storm, the result of developing over nature's drainage systems is flooding and runoff (pictured, courtesy of Save Kihei). The bill is under Planning Commission review and will return to Committee for passage this year. Stay tuned! Click here to read the proposal.
In addition to following the wetlands legislation, join the South Maui Save the Wetlands Hui for a hands-on experience protecting our wetlands. The organization and its volunteers regularly hold clean-up days (photo right) to restore the natural habitat of these important areas. Two other important wetland projects, Rooted Kekahi Me Ka Aina and‘Āinakūko’a O Waiohuli Kai, are also seeking volunteers!
Preview: Upcoming in CARE Committee

The CARE Committee has a full agenda and will be moving ahead on initiatives to bolster the County's climate action, resilience, and environmental efforts. To view the list of items currently on the CARE Committee's master agenda and to see upcoming meeting agendas, click here. You can always contact us with your input and feedback on these issues! In the coming months, CM King hopes to pass lighting requirements to protect seabirds, wastewater disinfection, and wetland protections out of CARE Committee. We will also schedule updates on the County's lawsuit against Big Oil, updates to the County's energy conservation building code, and urban tree legislation. Come testify!
Love the Reef!
On Valentine's Day, Councilmember King spoke at the unveiling of the first mineral sunscreen dispenser at ʻĀhihi-Kīnaʻu Natural Area Reserve. Council Chair Alice Lee and Councilmembers Tamara Paltin and Yuki Lei Sugimura, State Representative Tina Wildberger, Hawaii County Councilmember Rebecca Villegas, South Maui Community Liasion Bill Snipes, Peter Landon and Jeff Bagshaw of DLNR, volunteer Kelli Lundgren, Anne Rillero of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (who organized the event) and others shared support! Maui County leads the way in protecting our coral reef and marine environment from chemical sunscreens by enacting Ordinance 5306 to prohibit non-mineral sunscreens. The free sunscreen dispenser is pictured, center.
Community Updates

CM King and staff continue outreach to South Maui residents despite the limitations of the pandemic. We utilize videoconferencing technology to regularly meet with stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, and constituents. CM King presents webinars, hosts panel discussions, and facilitates multiple public meetings. Public input is important to the decision-making process!

What do you envision for South Maui? Get involved and share your thoughts by becoming a part of the South Maui Community Plan process and visiting You can also invite the Planning Department to speak to your community group about the Plan by emailing

Rental and Utility Assistance
Monthly rent and utility assistance is available for Maui residents! Support for up to 12 months can be provided, up to $2,000/month for rent and $500 for utilities. To learn more, visit or call the helpline at 808-873-4673

Green Bike Lanes Coming Soon
A budget amendment to fund the painting of green bike lanes by the Department of Public Works was approved and will create a pilot project on Lipoa Street. Green bike lanes increase visibility and make it safer and easier to promote biking and multimodal transportation.

Summer PALS Is Hiring
Know anyone interested in working with children over the summer school break? The County is hiring at an increased rate! Apply at

Planning Goes Digital
The Planning Department has gone digital. Check in on the status of projects using the online project status viewer (click for link). The Permitting Division now has a new automated system, which you can access by clicking here.

Office of Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability Launches Website
As part of efforts to create plans to address Maui's GHG emissions and track resilience, the Office of Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability has launched a new website. Visit to learn more, including about County grant opportunities!

Affordable Housing
In July 2021, the Council received the Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan created by Jeff Gilbreath and his team at Hawaiian Community Assets. CM King has long been a proponent of this kind of a comprehensive plan to put 5,000 affordable homes online in the next five years. With this blueprint in hand, the Affordable Housing Committee has been trying to implement the recommendations as soon as possible to address the housing crisis. Learn about the plan at Follow along at and by monitoring the Affordable Housing Committee.
In the Community
The Maui County Kākou: Civic Engagement Video Series (click for video) series is online now! Get a crash course in County civics from local personalities like George Kahumoku Jr. and Kathy Collins. Share with your family and friends, learn about the process, and get involved!
Congratulations to the winners of the Hale Kaiola affordable housing lottery! Councilmember King attended the event, which selected the lucky families who will be able to purchase a home in this development. Because of the pandemic, people were selected and notified over Zoom. A behind-the-scenes view of the process is pictured. Stay tuned for more upcoming affordable housing opportunities!
Councilmember King visited the Pohakea Watershed, also known as Ma`alaea Mauka, with a team from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. After this visit, the DLNR decided to add the parcel to its Legacy Land Conservation Program, providing a $1 million grant for the public conservation of this critical land parcel.
The Maui County Council is starting a Youth Council for high school-aged youth in Maui County! Please contact Axel Beers at or 808-270-8018 with any questions, to apply as an interested student or to discuss partnership opportunities.
CM King moderated a panel on affordable housing with leaders (L-R) Stand Up Maui President Stan Franco, Councilmember Gabe Johnson, Lawrence Carnicelli of Alaula Builders, Planning Director Michele McLean, Housing and Human Concerns Deputy Director Linda Munsell, Tom Fischer of Ikaika Ohana, and Keegan Flaherty of `Ikenākea Development. These kinds of collaborative and informative discussions are needed to advance affordable housing goals! Read more about their upcoming projects online:
In Case You Missed It: Catch up on Maui County's lawsuit against Big Oil companies in this episode of the City Climate Corner podcast, featuring Councilmember Kelly King and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Jadda Miller's science class of 7th graders at Kihei Charter School are continuing their impressive and successful efforts to learn, educate, and influence policy to promote protection of coral reefs. "Love Our Reefs" is the first of three PSAs they created encouraging the use of reef-safe, mineral-based sunscreens. All are available to view on our Facebook page. Like and share!
From Our Inbox
Aloha Councilmembers,

I wanted to take the chance to express my heartfelt gratitude for your ''yay" votes on the Ma'alaea Regional Wastewater Reclamation System budget amendment.

It is almost unheard of for citizens to enjoy a legislative body that is majority women, so expectations are very high, but I must say that you as a governing body consistently exceed my highest wishes for the Council, and for that I thank you!!!

Keep up the amazing work.


Travis Liggett
Learn more about becoming a member of Kihei Community Association here.
Learn more about becoming a member of Ma`alaea Village Association here.
Office of Kelly Takaya King
Our office can be found on the 8th floor of the County Building, suites 819 and 820.
Our district office is located in Suite 9 of the Maui Economic Development Board Building at the Maui Research and Technology Park at 1305 North Holopono Street, Kihei.

Our staff may be working remotely but we are available by phone at (808) 270-7108 (County Building), (808) 793-0012 (district office), or via email during regular business hours.

In addition to contributing to many non-profits, including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Hale KauKau, Kelly King has served Hawai`i as an active Leader or Board Member in the following organizations:
  • Kihei Community Association
  • Decisions Maui
  • Kihei Neighborhood Playgroup
  • Maui High School/Community-Based Management
  • Girl Scouts Hawaii
  • Hawaii State Board of Education, Maui Representative
  • Hui Malama Learning Center
  • AKAKU: Maui Community TV
  • Hawaii Energy Policy Forum
  • Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance
  • Maui Farmers Union
  • High Tech Development Corporation
  • Climate Reality Project Maui
  • 100 Women Who Care
Kelly currently sits on the board of ICLEI USA, the leading global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. She is Vice President of the Hawai`i State Association of Counties and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Advisory Committee.
Axel Beers
Executive Assistant
Axel is a born-and-raised Maui boy now raising a young family of his own. He has experience in education and journalism, and a strong interest in politics and policy.
Ellen McKinley
Executive Assistant
Ellen is passionate about policy, sustainability, and environmental issues. She received recognition as a Volunteer Hero by the County of Maui in 2021. She is licensed as an attorney in California and Washington.
Sarah Sexton
Executive Assistant
Sarah has spent much of her adult life building community through a cultural arts lens as a live event producer. Since graduating from UC Berkeley, where she studied politics in pop culture, she has shifted her focus to local government, and volunteer work as an exotic animal caregiver.
Daniel Kanahele
District Office Staff
Daniel is a South Maui resident who has served his community as a citizen volunteer for the past two decades. Aloha ʻāina, or love of the land, love of the people, and love of the nation, is his core value.
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County Building
200 South High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793


South Maui District Office
1305 N Holopono Street, Suite 9
Kihei, HI 96753


NEWSLETTER - First Quarter 2022