THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

224

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

Requesting the auditor to conduct a comprehensive management audit of the division of boating and ocean recreation of the department of land and natural resources.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, the mission of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is to enrich the lives of people of all ages, both residents and visitors alike, by providing ocean-based opportunities, facilities, activities, skill development, and area management, including boating of all types, saltwater fishing, surfing, sailboarding, diving, ocean swimming, and other ocean activities; and

 

WHEREAS, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation manages the small boat harbors and boating facilities in the State, which are part of the State's ocean recreation and coastal areas programs under chapter 200, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

 

WHEREAS, the proper maintenance and operation of the State's small boat harbors and boating facilities allow people to benefit from the State's natural resources through recreational boating, commercial and personal fishing, and other maritime-related operations; however, the management of small boat harbors and boating facilities has been a recurring problem for the State; and

 

WHEREAS, in the last management audit of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, conducted in 2001, the Auditor found that the boating program's mismanagement and neglect have allowed facilities to deteriorate to the point where the continued use of the facilities threatens public safety, as many facilities need major repairs and face permanent closure if the problems are not addressed; and

 

WHEREAS, the Auditor also found that many of the problems facing the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation stemmed from poor planning, an insufficient fee structure, paying a disproportionate share of the Department's enforcement expenses, and funding programs with special fund monies that should be supported by general funds and that little had changed since these deficiencies had been reported in prior audits in 1993 and 1998; and

 

WHEREAS, the Auditor further found that the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation lacked adequate controls to ensure the accuracy and integrity of its financial affairs; and

 

WHEREAS, the Auditor recommended the creation of a strategic plan to address the short- and long-term issues facing the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, such as ensuring proper funding to address repair and maintenance issues; ensuring the Division receives the Division's fair share of enforcement services; stepping up requirements for boating and mooring permits, certifications, and registrations; and establishing better controls over the Division's financial activities; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2019, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation published its first strategic plan, Modernizing Ocean Recreation Management in Hawaii: Strategic Action Plan 2019, which identified three goals; and

 

WHEREAS, the first identified goal is to expand ocean recreation management to meet the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's statutory mandate, as the Division uses much of its resources on boating harbors and facilities management in contrast to resources used on ocean recreation management; and

 

WHEREAS, the second identified goal is to provide world-class boating facilities and services to meet the needs of ocean recreation enthusiasts and the residents and visitors who participate in ocean-based activities; and

 

WHEREAS, the third identified goal is to effectively manage the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's real property, such as the utilization of state-owned fast lands, which have immense commercial development potential to attract greater traffic in harbor areas and yield higher revenues; and

 

WHEREAS, despite the Strategic Action Plan 2019, further improvements to the conditions of the small boat harbors and boating facilities are needed for the protection of public safety; and

 

WHEREAS, the newly constructed ferry pier at the Lahaina Harbor creates a rip current that sucks water under the pier, which endangers the safety of swimmers and surfers in the area and has required the rescue of multiple youth surfers; and

 

WHEREAS, the Mala Boat Ramp remains largely unusable during low tide due to the accumulation of sand resulting from large south swells; and

 

WHEREAS, several boating harbors and facilities continue to exist in a dilapidated condition necessitating the need for further evaluation into the management of the State's small boat harbors and boating facilities; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2023, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Auditor is requested to conduct a comprehensive management audit of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the comprehensive management audit is requested to:

 

(1) Assess the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation's management of state-run boating facilities and the Division's ability to maintain and operate these facilities;

 

(2) Assess whether the Division's activities are achieving their goals and, if not, how much improvement toward meeting those goals has been made since the management audit conducted in 2001;

 

(3) Assess whether the Division is appropriately using taxes and fees collected within small boat harbors solely for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of those small boat harbors; and

 

(4) Make recommendations as appropriate; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2024; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and Auditor.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

DLNR; Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation; Management Audit