Move the market
Some 30 years ago, I was one of the first vendors at the Hilo Farmers Market. I sold plant starts out of the back of my truck, and when it rained, I used an umbrella.
People came early and shopped with a flashlight. Now, the market has grown considerably, and it is a great destination for residents and visitors alike.
I was dismayed to hear the county will no longer be allowing the large canopy of tarps because of a fire hazard.
WHAT? Who comes up with this stuff — and why only now, and why right before the Merrie Monarch Festival?
With all the rain in Hilo, those tarps are essential to keep not only the vendors and their products dry, but their customers, as well.
Somebody on Facebook has the best idea. Since the county building is closed Saturdays, why not have the market move there? It’s covered, has parking and insurance and the rental fees could go to pay for the staffing and cleanup.
In 2015, county workers in Hawaii earned an average of $86,712 in wages and benefits, while their private sector compatriots, who pay for these wages and benefits, earned only $55,432 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
Please keep in mind that these were 2015 numbers, before the recent astronomical increases in Hawaii County public sector wages and benefits.
The Tribune-Herald noted that these Hawaii County public sector costs now consume 66 percent of the county’s operating budget. When they reach the inevitable 100 percent (i.e., without further increases in taxes to compensate for the exponential growth in worker costs), we will have no tax funds left to actually pave the roads or maintain the parks; there will be just enough tax money to cover wages, salaries and benefits.
I wonder what that dystopian world might look like? What will the park maintenance employee do when there are no funds for rakes and mowers? What will the street maintenance employee do when there is no money for tarmac, no money for the equipment with which to lay it?
Perhaps county employees will simply sit in their dark offices (no funds left over to keep the lights on) and consume taxpayer money?
How did public service become such a voracious consumer of the county budget? And how can county taxpayers survive with this sort of load to carry?
There has got to be a tipping point here somewhere.