June 5, 2020

City Audit Confirms – Our Parks are Not Maintained Equally

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I — “I requested the audit last year because it was clear to me and many constituents that islandwide park maintenance was not a priority. It seemed like the parks that tourists visited most, near Waikīkī, were repaired faster, maintained better and improved more frequently. So, I decided to get to the bottom of this to determine if taxpayer money was being used fairly and equally. The auditor’s report shows that there are several operational problems at the Department that stand in the way of making these public spaces beautiful and safe for our residents,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kym Pine.

An audit she called for last year is being released to the public today and according to the Office of the City Auditor, it proves what Councilmember Pine suspected: DPR’s efforts are focused on parks that visitors frequent, mostly in urban areas of Honolulu and near Waikīkī. Sixty nine of the City’s parks are in East Honolulu and they receive 27% of the total funding while there are 90 parks on the Leeward side which receive only 23% of parks funding.

The audit found that the amount DPR spends on ground maintenance around the island is not equitable; that DPR lacks sufficient maintenance standards and accountability, lacks professional processes and procedures and suffers from chronic understaffing.

Among the beginning statements in the report, the auditor says, “Current operational practices are reactive and appear to wait for park conditions to deteriorate before action is taken, rather than maintaining quality conditions. Park vandalism continues to be a high-risk area as it compromises park usability and appearance. For its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects, DPR does not track financial data and lacks awareness of project status. There is limited accountability for park CIP projects that were funded, but not completed.”

“I’ve created my own list of recommendations for the Parks Department and I urge the City Council and the Mayor to read this audit report, adopt the auditor’s recommendations and join me in asking the DPR to provide a plan to improve its operations and accountability,” Pine said. “These measures should include best practices used by other municipalities including quality standards, employee logs, maintenance checklists, and as I included in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, plans to install cameras at all city parks.”

According to the Audit Report, in 2019 National Community Survey found that only 39% of Honolulu residents rated city parks as excellent or good. Honolulu ranked at 306 out of 311 nationally.

Several other steps for improvements Pine is calling for are outlined in her response to the audit:

DPR Audit Summary – Councilmember Kym Pine

The audit and highlights can be found on the City Auditor’s website at 3 p.m. June 5:

Councilmember Kym Pine represents residents of District One (ʻEwa, ʻEwa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko ʻOlina, Nānākuli, Mā‘ili, Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Kea‘au, Mākua) and is chair of the City Council’s Committee on Business Economic Development and Tourism.

Media contact:

Erika Engle

Communications Director

Erika [dot] engle <at> honolulu [dot] gov

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