KAILUA-KONA — Today is the last day to register for an upcoming luncheon aimed at connecting the business community with county officials.
The Focus Luncheon, organized by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, is scheduled for March 15 at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.
Admission to the event, aimed at offering guests a chance to connect with local government officials, is $55 for Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club members and $65 for nonmembers. Entry for a table of eight can be purchased for $500, according to a flyer for the event.
A highlight of the luncheon, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will include an address from Mayor Harry Kim, who said he plans to touch on his vision for Maunakea, and a panel discussion that will include the mayor, the executive assistant charged with issues related to homelessness and representatives of the Hawaii Police Department and the Departments of Parks and Recreation, Water Supply and Public Works.
Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wendy Laros said there will also be a question-and-answer period between guests and the panel.
Kim said he’s looking forward to the luncheon, calling it an opportunity for the community to “sit among each other.”
The event, he said, functions as a “two-way street,” at which he can communicate his ideas and goals and also hear back from the community.
“There’s no better way of communicating than getting to know people,” he said.
The event comes after the announcement of a $515.7 million draft budget for the county, which though a 5.1 percent increase over this year’s budget, eliminates county contingency funds and reduces money for tourism promotion and nonprofit grants, among other cuts.
The proposal also doesn’t include funding for homeless projects in East and West Hawaii, nor for planned Hele-On bus improvements.
Kim said the luncheon will be an opportunity to hear honest feedback from the community.
“That’s what you’re going for, really,” he said.
Several tables will be assigned to different departments, where attendees will have an opportunity for face-to-face time with county leadership.
Laros said the event is a great networking opportunity for community business leaders to come together with the county’s government leaders. She added it’s both an opportunity to ask questions of county leaders and advocate for those issues they see as important in the community.
Before and after the luncheon, specifically 10-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2 p.m., a business expo will take place in the hotel’s foyer.
Laros said almost 20 different businesses from a range of industries will have booths set up, offering yet another networking opportunity.
While tickets are needed for admission to the luncheon, the expo is free and open to the public.