(BIVN) – Residents of Puna who have been directly impacted by the eruption of Kilauea – or by the county response to the volcanic disaster – spoke out during a Hawai‘i County Council committee meeting in Hilo on Tuesday.
Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara introduced the communication to the Finance Committee, requesting “discussion on concerns raised by representatives of the Leilani Subdivision and the Pahoa and Volcano business communities regarding issues resulting from the ongoing volcanic eruption and the county’s management of imposed emergency declaration requirements.”
Public testifiers expressed frustration with the changing policies enacted by the Hawaii County Civil Defense which either prevented them from living in their homes, imposed strict curfews or restrictions, or blocked access to common gathering places like Leilani Estates’ community center. Pahoa business owners talked about the severe impact the eruption has had on commerce, and bristled at the unsympathetic commercial property tax bills that recently arrived in the mail.
After hearing from the public, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim addressed the council, and tried to provide answers to some of the community complaints.