Letters to the editor: 03-16-19

Pool problem could have been avoided

After reading the article in the Tuesday, March 5 West Hawaii Today “Kona pool closed indefinitely for repairs,” it sounds like another classic County of Hawaii management screw up, similar to the water department’s pump problems, and the Department of Transportation’s failed bus maintenance program.

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As Mr. Mason Souza, recreation administrator for the Hawaii County of Park and Recreation, states in the article “the facility shut down Friday after one of the sand filters stopped working.”

Recreation Deputy Director Maurice Messina added in the article — “the bidding process to repair work is underway “ and “while the cost is still unknown, funding for the repairs are available” and “we fill find the money within our budget to fix the problem.”

What is deplorable about the article is that nobody from the recreation department acknowledged that on at least two other occasions within the last year, the pool has been closed due to the failure of the pool sand filter. Also, that the filter has been leaking sand into the pool daily for approximately the past four months.

It is well known among the aquatic staff, and fellow patrons at the Kona pool, that the sand filter has been bubble-gummed and duct-taped back together for a long time now.

It was only a matter of time before the filter was going to fail. But instead of the recreation department being proactive anticipating the problem, it did not budget for replacement last year. Now, once again, we are faced with a major shut down, with no obvious pre-thought, no money set aside, no pre-purchase of a new sand filter, and no pre-delivery schedule to have the filter on hand ready for replacement when needed.

How can the County of Hawaii be so naive to allow a piece of equipment to go into failure, before any consideration is given for its replacement?

Does the management of the county not understand that we live on an island in the middle of the ocean and things take time? Do they not understand how to develop a preventive maintenance program, or a resource replacement schedule for its equipment?

They are are constantly asking for more money from us, the taxpayers. Maybe it is time that the County of Hawaii starts operating as a for-profit business and make the department managers responsible. Maybe we are spending too much money on employer salaries and benefits, and not hiring competent people?

This is not rocket science, only basic management policy and procedures. What will it take for the County of Hawaii to wake up?

Walter Bobb

Kona

Tax rate fractions make no sense

The general excise tax rate for Hawaii County was recently raised to $4.4386 percent. Now it is going to be raised again — 4.5 percent is not too excessive compared to other states. But where and why do they come up with numbers like 4.4386?

Our county politicians need to understand some simple math. Four percent is 4 cents on the dollar, .4 percent is .4 of a penny or 4/10, .03 percent is .03 of penny or 3/100, it only gets worse. the .008 is 8/1,000, and .0006 equates to 6/10,000 of a penny. I don’t think our Founding Fathers some 240 years ago ever considered breaking a penny down to a 10,000th.

Last year at a meeting with Mayor Harry Kim, I addressed the fractional problem of the tax. When I asked him what the current rate was, at that time it was 4.166 percent. He did not know what the exact rate was. I explained to him and his staff that countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have eliminated the penny.

Anyone who does business here in Hawaii County knows this dilemma. There are no modern accounting systems that exist for businesses that calculate down to more than 1/100 of a penny let alone 1/10,000 of a penny. What we have now is just plain stupid.

If our county politicians want to pass a law that is at least realistic and smart for business, they could amend that no taxes rates will break down lower than 1/10 of a penny.

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Cliff Luczak

Waikoloa Village