This column has spent some time profiling the who and what of small businesses in West Hawaii, so it might be time now to turn our attention to the how.
Ask any developer, homeowner, or business owner who has had any contact with the permitting process on Hawaii Island for their thoughts on that process and I guarantee you’ll get an earful. Like the experience of our neighbors on Oahu, where a study last year judged the permitting process as the lengthiest of any metropolitan area in the U.S. by a huge margin, Hawaii Island residents face a frustrating, long trek in bringing any building or renovation project to fruition. It’s the kind of process that works against economic development and erects the kinds of hurdles that persuade potential investors to give up and try their luck elsewhere.
In a budget briefing at the state Legislature about this time last year, Department of Education officials reported that their backlog of repair and maintenance jobs was $293 million, and they were patting themselves on the back because it was a significant drop from the $392 million reported in 2010.
As you might imagine, I’m a sucker for a good story. Brett Tennyson, master hair stylist and colorist, is full of them.
Last week, we spent some time on “variance reports,” which is how our state government agencies report differences in position count and spending from one year to the next. The agencies are also supposed to report on performance measures that they pick themselves, but sometimes still disregard this requirement.