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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Big Isle County Council to debate land-use proposals

By Erin Miller
West Hawaii Today

Should the Hawai'i County open space land fund be guaranteed 1 percent or 2 percent of property tax revenues each year? Should a provision be made for some of the money to be used to maintain land the county buys with the fund? Should the land be guaranteed to be held in perpetuity?

Three council members pose those questions, in the form of alternative Charter amendment proposals for the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund the full council will consider today. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort.

Ka'ū Councilman Guy Enriques said he drafted his amendment to keep the Charter commission's recommendation of placing a minimum of 1 percent of real property tax revenues in the fund, but wanted to add a provision to pay for maintenance of land the county buys. The provision sets aside 10 percent of the revenues each year.

"We have to become good stewards of the land," Enriques said. "It behooves us to be able to manage these lands appropriately."

He pointed to Kawa, in his district, where the county has purchased some property. People camp there, and the property is, in general, highly used. If the county owns the whole area, the amount of use may make maintenance by the county necessary, he said.