I attended the County Council’s West Maui budget hearing last night and today I reviewed the Mayor’s FY 2015 proposed budget ordnance online.
Last night I heard many worthy and inspiring organizations asking for county funds and I also heard residents and timeshare owners speak out against the proposed 6.5% increase in property taxes. It made me consider how the county could continue to help these worthy organizations within our county without overburdening property owners.
As the Executive Director of a 501c3 nonprofit, I became familiar with the process of searching for funding sources and applying for grants – it is not an easy process but I was lucky to have had encouragement and guidance of experienced friends along the way. I obtained approximately $35,000 in grant funding (not from the County of Maui) for the Save Honolua Coalition over the past five years.
Reflecting on this really made me think how effective it would be if the County had someone to function as a resource for nonprofit organizations to connect and support them, to leverage outside sources of funding and assist in the developing of local grant writers.
There are nonprofit, government, small business, individual,foundation and corporate grant sources out there which could take some of the burden off the Maui County tax payers.
If we created a small department to educate and empower nonprofits to go after those funds first and then turn to the county as a last resort, I’m convinced it would be a win-win and actually reduce the County’s need for funds.
More Transparency in Department Budgets
I would also encourage more transparency and internal feedback within each department in regards to details of submitted budgets. County workers are not only tax paying residents and affected by rate and fee increases but they may well be able to offer a different perspective on ways to reduce spending if given the chance.
These are my initial thoughts on the matter and I welcome your mana’o and further discussion of these matters as the county budget process progresses.