WAILUKU – Maui County Council members heard from farmers this week asking them to take more time before making changes to the county’s agricultural property tax laws.
The council Budget and Finance Committee met Tuesday to discuss a proposal that would carve out the land under a home on agricultural property and require it to be taxed in the same way as any other residential lot. Council members supporting the measure said it would make the property tax system more fair and equal for all residents.
But many farmers said they were concerned about any changes that would likely increase what they pay in property taxes.
“We have a tax equity issue,” said Darren Strand, president of the Maui County Farm Bureau and Haliimaile Pineapple Co. “As a business operator, that’s not my issue. My issue is, any increase in taxes is going to hurt my bottom line.”
He echoed others in calling for more review.
“There just hasn’t been enough time for us to process (this) and really get the information out,” he said.
Council members agreed, deciding to defer discussion of the issue and schedule nighttime meetings in the community before taking action.
“There’s a lot of concern out there, and I’d like to take a little extra time to have people get their questions answered,” said Council Member Mike White, who introduced the legislation and has spearheaded discussion of disparities in the agricultural property tax system.
Under White’s proposal, the county would tax the “house lot” on agricultural property based on its fair market value, as if it were a stand-alone lot.
That would be a significant change from the current system, in which the county estimates the value of the house lot only as a percentage of what the entire property is worth.
The change would likely increase property taxes on a number of agricultural house lots, which under the current system often pay less in taxes than lots of the same size in residential areas.
“It gets back to a fairness issue,” White said.
HALIIMAILE – The Maui County Farm Bureau will host the second annual Maui Ag Day with a focus on understanding food safety certification from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Haliimaile Pineapple Co.
The trade show, a panel presentation on food safety, tour and parking are free. That event will be held at 872 Haliimaile Road.
A “Grown on Maui” lunch is free for Maui County Farm Bureau members. There is a fee for nonmembers.
Those planning to attend should RSVP by Wednesday. For more information, send email to warrenmcfb@hot mail.com or call 243-2290.
A year ago, Haliimaile Pineapple Co., the employee-driven farm picked up the pieces of the failed Maui Pineapple Co., and reopened with a new name and renewed commitment to grow pineapple.
Vice President Rudy Balala confirmed, “We just finished the one year. We had some up-and-down times, but overall we’ve had good support from Hawaii customers. And our Mainland customers too, they have hung with us.”
The company employs 83 people.
Friday was an extra day for picking to accommodate a field that had ripened earlier than expected.
KIHEI – Doug Schenk, a director of the Haliimaile Pineapple Co., will speak at the 7:30 a.m. meeting Wednesday of the Rotary Club of Kihei Sunrise.
He will discuss the “rebirth” of pineapple on the Valley Isle. As a locally owned and operated successor to Maui Pineapple Co., Haliimaile Pineapple Co. is trying to fill the void left by Maui Pine, which closed in 2009, a release said.
The breakfast meeting convenes at the Five Palms restaurant at the Mana Kai Maui Resort in Kihei. The cost of breakfast is $17. The meeting is open to the public.
For more information, call President Ed Corbett at 264-3468 or see www.kiheirotary.org.
Sakada Corner, Fil-Am Observer December 2010 Issue
Sakada Feature, Page 8
VICTORIO Palaslas Layaoen came all the way from Batac, moved to Oahu, then to Kauai, then to the Big Island, and then finally to Maui, and never left until he passed on to the next life.
It is a story of courage. It is also a story of a life lived to the fullest.
Born on August 28, 1908 in then a very rural Batac, a town south of Laoag City, in the Philippines, at 19 and restless for something bigger and grander than what Ilocos in those days could offer, he took the plunge to go to Hawaii.
That was in 1928. From Port Salomague in Cabugao, he took the S. S. President Lincoln, and in the rough seas, thought of a peaceful, productive life somewhere in the islands yonder where sugarcane plants and pineapples grew in abundance.
He landed in Oahu, worked there some time; he moved on to Kauai, worked there for some time; he moved to the Big Island, worked there for some time; and then finally, moved to Maui where he worked forever until he retired in 1974 at 65.
Maui was his kadagaan—that Ilokano mindset that talks about the land that is yours for the keeping, at least metaphorically, if not literally. He worked for the HC&S and lived at McGerrow Camp. Later on, he transferred to Maui Pineapple Company at Haliimaile.
Hawaiian Adventures Part 1: Maui
I had previously promised to share my stories and experiences from Hawaii, and now that I’ve been back at home in Texas for nearly 6 weeks, I think I’m ready to do just that. Any sooner would have been too painful for me. You see, my brief time (just under three weeks) spent in Hawaii opened up a new realm of self to me. I got to ooh and ahh over breathtaking scenery and experience deep gratitude and appreciation for this earth and everything God has put in it unlike I ever have before. I got to revel in my surroundings and listen to my inner thoughts. All the while sipping a mai tai of course. It was exactly the vacation that I needed- plenty of solitude and relaxation mixed with gluttony and adventure.
My Hawaiian vacation consisted of two legs: a week spent in Maui and a week (which “accidentally” turned into 11 days- we’ll get to that later) on the Big Island. I’m lucky enough to have a grandmother who lives in Wailuku, Maui, but unlucky enough to have only been to visit her once when I was 16. I decided that I was indeed due for a visit. She graciously showed me around her beautiful island and introduced me to my favorite town in Maui- Paia, which is a charming surfer’s village with this hippie-esque vibe that I found completely groovy. I spent a few days wandering around Kihei, Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach lounging, sunbathing, reading, eating, people watching. I like the down time every now and then where I can just sit and absorb what’s going on around me. However, I like the thrill of adventure just as much. And I feel like my time is better spent sharing the details of that part of my trip as compared to talking about how many times I flipped from my stomach to my back trying to maintain an even tan.
AR-Cal Distributing in Arvin, CA, has taken over as the exclusive North American sales agent for the Maui Gold pineapple, which is now being grown and packed by the Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Ltd. in Halliimaile, HI.
AR-Cal is the marketing and distribution arm of Trino Packing & Cold Storage Inc., which is also headquartered in Arvin and owned by longtime produce industry veteran John Trino.
Mr. Trino said that he has long had an affinity for Hawaii and became well acquainted with the Maui Gold pineapple when it was being marketed by the Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
That company, which owns and operates resort properties and golf courses in addition to its agricultural division, has had well-publicized financial issues during the past couple of years.
Maui Land & Pineapple Co. has sold off several golf courses and also sold the rights to the “Maui Gold” brand name.
Mr. Trino said that backers of the new pineapple company have pumped a good deal of money into the operation over the past year and have secured significant land for production.
Since Jan. 1, Haliimaile has been shoring up the sales of pineapples in Hawaii and has been mostly using Calavo for its mainland sales. Mr. Trino has been consulting for the firm on an informal basis since 2009 while it was under development, and recently agreed to the exclusive marketing agreement.
“I am basically going to be acting as a broker and a sales agent,” he said. “Haliimaile will do billing and invoicing.”
Mr. Trino said that the key to successful sales of the Maui Gold pineapple on the mainland is to limit supplies to the extent that there is demand.
“I told them to build up their sales in Hawaii and to grow slowly in North America,” Mr. Trino said. “You cannot flood the market. No longer will there be consignment sales. Everything will be an f.o.b. sale.”
AR-Cal’s agreement was slated to begin officially Oct. 1, but on Sept. 29, when Mr. Trino spoke with The Produce News, he said, “We have cans on the water and are taking orders.”
He said that the f.o.b. price Long Beach, CA, or Seattle, which are the two ports to which the product is being shipped and unloaded via ocean freighter, was $11.50 on that day.
“There has been about a five- or six-week gap in supplies, which has made for a good transition,” he added.
Although the Maui Gold has typically enjoyed better sales on the West Coast because of its proximity to Hawaii, Mr. Trino said that the company is selling nationwide and will air freight to the East Coast when appropriate.
But he added that Mexican pineapples are typically $2-$4 cheaper and enjoy a freight rate advantage to the East Coast, so the demand is limited.
“But it is the best-tasting pineapple there is,” he stated.
Handling sales of the product for AR-Cal is Harold Stein, another longtime produce sales veteran.
The Produce News AR-Cal inks Maui Gold deal
Mainland images of the fall harvest may not apply to Hawaii, where the growing season is year-round. But after the islands’ busier summer than 2009’s and before a Christmas break that’s expected to be even more robust, travelers may find that quieter autumn is the peak period to reap the benefits of new and renewed activities and accommodations.
For activities, the menu of agritourism options – an appetizing way to support farmers and rural landscapes – keeps expanding on the four major islands:
Maui: The new Grown on Maui Bus Tour lives up to its name by including a locally sourced continental breakfast at the Whole Foods Market in Kahului, a company tour and pineapple tasting at the Haliimaile Pineapple Co., a gourmet lunch and tour at upcountry Oo Farm (owned by PacificO and IO restaurants) and a walking tour and dessert at Alii Kula Lavender Farm, before returning to Whole Foods. The weekly Tuesday tour, open to ages 12 and older, costs $130 plus tax. (808) 879-2828, www.akinatours.com.
Festival of Pineapples Featuring Haliimaile Pineapple Company & their sweet Maui Gold Pineapples
Date: Saturday, August 21st, 2010
Time: 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
Categories: Food & Beverage, Mall / Shopping
70 E Kaahumanu Ave
Kahului, HI USA 96732
Island Area: Central Maui
EVENT CONTACT INFORMATION
Phone: 808-877-8952 or 808-871-1307