(BIVN) – During Wednesday’s budget discussion, the council voted to approve resurrecting the West Hawaii golf subsidy, a program that was previously in existence but discontinued several years ago.
The only County-owned municipal golf course is in Hilo, so for West Hawaii, access to affordable golf is a matter of equity.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that there are, and have been, pervasive feelings between East and West Hawaiʻi, that West Hawaiʻi puts in a lot of the funds that fund our County, and East Hawaii gets a lot of benefits that we don’t necessarily always see on the west side,” said councilwoman Rebecca Villegas, who represents Kona. “I don’t golf, but my husband golfs, and I respect golf as a sport that a number of people enjoy. And we have a number of beautiful golf courses on the west side but they are all private and the cost to golf at these courses can be quite exorbitant.”
Villegas proposed to move $250,000 from the fund balance to pay for the voucher program, and the council supported the measure.
The Council also voted to approve two additional uses of the Fund Balance from Previous Year: $25,000 to fund an Independent Whistle Blower Program, and $270,000 to increase the council Contingency Relief account.