June 8, 2011; Source: The Maui News | As the Newswire has previously reported, the Maui City Council was faced with some tough budget decisions this year. Originally a proposal was on the table that would have increased the minimum property tax from $150 to $300 and this would have allowed the council to fund everything in its budget.

But small local farmers came forward to say that because many of them held multiple small parcels that they worked, the increase in taxes of those smaller pieces of land would place increased pressure on them when that could be ill afforded.

As a result, the council felt that it had to look at the option of cutting grants to local nonprofits like those providing hospice care, economic development, and the local Special Olympics. In the end the council could not stomach the potential consequences of those cuts however, instead delaying the purchase of a new fire truck.

What this story reminds us is that the choices being made at the local community level can be excruciating with very real consequences in the trade-offs. We wish the old fire truck a strong year.—Ruth McCambridge