(BIVN) – Aaron Chung, the newly-elected chair of the Hawaiʻi County Council, said he plans to make recovery from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption a top priority in the coming year.
Nine councilmembers – three of them new – were sworn into office on Monday, December 3. The inauguration of the 2018-2020 Hawaiʻi County Council was held at the Hilo Civic Auditorium.
“Our county has gone through a really tough time this past year,” Chung said in his speech to the crowd. “The Kīluea eruption and Hurricane Lane caused heartbreak for many families. The after effects are still being felt by many. And let’s not forget that we have yet to fully assess the impacts of those disasters on our own county budget.”
“Recovery for Puna needs to be our number one priority,” Chung said, to applause. “Whether that means taking a secondary or primary role to that of the administration, we must do whatever is legally permissible in order to help,” Chung added.
Chung also said the council needs to pay attention to the looming effects of climate change, and address matters “relating to coastal planning, emergency preparedness, and the development of disaster mitigation measures.”
“The reason I say that, is from all reports global warming will create a higher risk of hurricanes to our islands,” Chung said.
Chung also said the county must diversify its one-dimensional revenue stream.