(BIVN) – After months of fluctuating numbers, the Hawaiʻi County administration has finalized its state “ask” for Kilauea eruption recovery funds, weeks before the start of the 2019 legislative session.
County officials presented an update to the Hawaiʻi County Council on Tuesday during a meeting of the Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development. With $180-$190 million in FEMA Public Assistance pending, and eyeing $350 million in HUD CDBG-DR funds, the county’s Research and Development Director, Diane Ley, focused the presentation mostly on the upcoming legislative ask.
Hawaiʻi County will go to the Capitol asking for a total of $155 million: $11 million in state programs and operations, and $144 million that would be distributed out of the governor’s office via a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator.
The $155 million appropriation would include the local cost share of various federal programs, recovery projects that may not be covered by federal programs in accordance with the recovery plan, and costs to administer an implement the funding sources.
The ask would include:
$2 million for Health, including $167,000 for mental health programs to support impacted residents, $300,000 for classroom air quality, and $1,533,000 for permanent air quality stations and maintenance
$4 million for Economic, to increase the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture’s agricultural revolving loan fund to help revitalize the impacted agricultural industry.
$61 million for Regional Infrastructure, including an estimated local 25% cost share for FEMA’s Public Assistance program, and money allocated by the State Disaster Recovery Coordinator.
$55 million for Housing, to implement housing infill identified by Puna Community Development Plan to accommodate impacted population in accordance with the Recovery Plan
$23 million in Emergency, to include $145,000 in major equipment repair and maintenance, and to sustain emergency operations or construct emergency bypass routes in case of renewed eruption. That would entail 1 million for evacuation routes and $21,855,000 for Emergency Operations.
$10 million for Implementation, including $5 million to establish and maintain a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator office for 3 years, and $5 million to establish and maintain a County Disaster Recovery Coordinator office for 3 years.
According Council Chair Aaron Chung, the word the council is getting from the legislature is that the state lawmakers are “still somewhat frustrated… waiting for specific proposals, not general amounts. You know, $10 million here for this, you know, and whatever it is. They want to see things in the ground.”
“We really want to present a united front in all of this,” Chung said.