Recently, my neighbor mentioned his property taxes had quadrupled this year, and soon after we saw that ours had doubled. This in spite of a professional appraisal two months ago for $135,000 less than what the county is saying.
We called and requested information on an appeal and were told, “You can appeal, but it won’t do any good, and the fee for an appeal is nonrefundable.” What? Wait, a fee for appealing your assessment?!
I have lived in five other states and none of them charge a fee to appeal, and how incredibly unfair to charge a fee.
Clearly, since we were discouraged to even appeal, there is a mindset that it’s the county’s way or the highway, as if we are slaves.
Hawaii is the most expensive state in the country and the extremely high tax structure is a big part of that. We all know the county needs money, but how about looking for savings elsewhere?
Why does every public project cost three times as much as it should and take three times as long? Why do we pay a general excise tax instead of a sales tax, when sales taxes doesn’t apply to food or medicine — unfair to poor people!
Why do state and county employees (the largest employee group by far in the state) get paid so much, get so much time off and then, when they retire, they don’t have to pay state tax on their retirement money like the rest of us do? Must be nice to shove your tax burden off on the rest of us.
And as for what we get for all of this money — potholes, no recycling (on an island!) and very poor service from many public employees.
We were subjected to an 18-month wait for a permit while we were jerked around with contradictory information and apathy, costing us endless stress and heartache and several thousand extra dollars. Now we get a building code that is absurd for the tropics and drives housing up 30% in a place where affordable housing is nonexistent already.
What’s wrong with this picture? Not enough accountability, a fossilized governmental system, special interests, incredible inefficiency and on and on.
What are we gonna do about it? Let’s start holding their feet to the fire, citizens of Hawaii County. We deserve better.
Hawaii County’s battle against transparency continues.
The Department of Environmental Management streamlined their March director’s report. This new format has less information.
Now a person cannot track the rate of progress on certain projects. We cannot see how many job positions are still open. This new format is less transparent than the original.
At the Environmental Management Commission meeting, the new director told the commissioners how far behind Hawaii Island is with repairs on our wastewater facilities. Now everybody must wait for him to speak at the meeting instead of seeing the data in his director’s report. It comes out a few days before the meeting.
Since there is no record anymore in print, the lack of progress is untrackable. Now we are looking at wastewater through rose-colored lenses.