(BIVN) – A handful of Puna residents impacted by the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano testified before the Hawaiʻi County Council in Hilo on Wednesday, as the local lawmakers voted to accept millions in state recovery funds.
Resolution 90-19 authorizes the mayor to enter into an agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi to accept $20 million in funds to be used “to provide relief, recovery, mitigation, and remediation assistance for damage, losses, and suffering caused by the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.” Resolution 91-19 authorizes accepts a $40 million loan from the state for the same purposes.
Bill 36 and 37 appropriates the funds to the proper accounts.
The set of resolutions and bills is preemptive in nature, as the money has not been officially approved by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, yet. House Bill 1180 HD 1, has passed through the House and is now in the Senate. The Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs will hold a hearing on the bill on Thursday.
Residents who live in areas of Puna that have been cutoff by lava shared their stories with the Council, and pressed the elected officials to keep the recovery of Highway 132 a top priority. In turn, councilmembers used the meeting as an opportunity to update the public on all the work they have been doing, and Hawaiʻi Island as well as Oʻahu, to ensure the resources for the recovery are delivered.
It was also revealed this week that the County plans to construct a temporary road over Highway 132, contingent on meeting permit requirements, by September / October 2019.