Public offers mixed reviews of service as the cost of government grows

  • The bathrooms at Kailua Playground in the heart of Kailua-Kona are locked and in shambles.

  • Kailua Playground on Kuakini Highway remains overgrown and in disrepair.

  • A rusted lock secures the gate at the overgrown Kailua Playground basketball court.

  • Jaslyn Nathanial of the Hawaii County Planning Department goes over plans with John Hetherington at the West Hawaii Civic Center office. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A sign on the door of Environmental Management at the West Hawaii Civic Center indicates no regular office hours. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Growth of county employee totals. (Source: Hawaii County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2017

HILO — Since 2000, Hawaii County’s population has risen by 33.5 percent. The number of county employees has increased by 27.6 percent.