(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council passed Bill 12 on final reading on February 20, appropriating $170,355 in private donations into a 2018 lava disaster relief account, earmarked for specific projects in Puna.
The money originated from several sources: Puna Geothermal Venture ($150,000), Tokyoto Oshimamachi ($18,274.22), Saishoin Temple ($2,000), and Sister City Mayor Inoue ($80.44).
The bill passed first reading on February 5, and Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz and Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy worked to allocate the money in the community where it is needed most.
During the first reading of the bill in Hilo, Kierkiewicz read a list from “Exhibit A”, which stated $50,000 would go to the Department of Public Works for emergency roads recovery.
$50,725 would be allocated to the Department of Research and Development in support of “business recovery and development for farmers, ranchers, and food producers impacted by 2018 eruption”. The R&D money would also assist the Hawaiʻi Board of Geographic Names Permitted Interaction Group with public outreach for the naming of Fissure 8. The rest would go towards temporary interpretive signage and banners around the area covered by lava.
$51,467.00 would go to the Department of Parks and Recreation for a handful of projects at Isaac Kepoʻokalani Hale Beach Park, such as increased porta-potty cleaning and maintenance, stand-by water, and “outdoor signage throughout Poho`iki to highlight story, history, culture, recent events of this resource.”
Money would also go to the Pāhoa Aquatics Center for equipment, as well as Pāhoa recreational activities for Puna keiki, and Puna senior centers.
On second reading during a Council meeting held in Kealakehe, Kierkiewicz amended the bill once again, adding money for safety and security efforts in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Some money would also go to the Cooper Center in Volcano Village.