(BIVN) – A debate over funding for Hawaiʻi County advisory commissions has been taking place during various board meetings in recent weeks.
On October 23, Tom Lodge – the chair of the Hawaiʻi County Game Management Advisory Commission – says the travel budget has been cut, hampering their ability to travel to Oʻahu to testify at the state legislature.
According to Lodge, the county administration told him that the commission “is not doing anything on behalf of the county” when commissioners visit the legislature, and he concedes “that might be true.”
“What we are doing down there is working on behalf of the public,” Lodge said.
“On the point as to whether or not we should have a travel budget, I disagree,” Lodge said, “so that is one of the things that we’re going to bring up to [the mayor]. Other than that, we may have to find other ways to find transportation to do testimony and other things and at the legislature.”
The general subject of funding for county advisory boards came up during the October 12 Charter Commission meeting.
“You have the ability to appoint advisory commissions in the Charter,” said Charter Commission chair Douglass Shipman Adams, questioning Mayor Harry Kim in Hilo. “The Charter talks about the fact that departments will generally fund – from their own funds – these advisory commissions. There has been expressed to us some concern about those. You have any comment about that?”
“There is a commission that I’m thinking about now,” Mayor Kim answered, without naming any one board in particular.
“I have no real strong position on that,” Kim said, “because I feel that that is people’s money. It needs to be funded, and we need to establish a system that funds them the amount that they need – not want, but need – to do their job.”