Nhsc-v1-380

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nhsc-v1-380

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We agree that issues relative to the responsibilities of the Department of the Interior were not addressed in the report and that such issues should be included in the scope of the Task Force study. We further believe that the problems identified in this report are matters that should also be addressed by the Task Force.

The Secretary's Office commented that the Federal/State Task Force will be in existence for six months and they will perform an indepth analysis of each of the issues and recommendations raised by the Inspector General.

D. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Land Status

Although land is the essential element of the Home lands program, effective accountability for the land has not been established. The problems leading to the present situation are many, beginning with an absence of a definitive description of "available lands" designated by the Act; continuing with apparently illegal land withdrawals or diversions; and complicated by inadequate maintenance of land inventory records. As a result, DHHL does not have a complete or accurate inventory of the 203,500 acres designated under the Act, nor of the 190,000 acres for which DHHL now claims responsibility. Further, the State of Hawaii has never developed and maintained a current and comprehensive inventory of State and public lands, including Home lands, for which the State of Hawaii is the trustee. These problems, in part, have given rise to allegations of "missing" lands by riative Hawaiians and organizations, and by other interested parties.

We conclude that positive and aggressive action is required to establish complete and accurate records of Home lands and to resolve issues related to land withdrawals, and exchanges.

Land Inventory

DHHL land inventory records consist of a listing of parcels of land corresponding to the State of Hawaii, Department of Taxation, property tax maps to which hand-written adjustments have been made by DHHL personnel. This listing, prepared in November 1979 by a commercial data processing firm, shows parcel identification, location, acreage, use, lease data, and annual rental amounts. In addition to this land listing, known as the "blue book," DHHL also has copies of the tax maps for the areas where Home lands are located.

The DHHL blue book does not provide acre totals or summarizations. DHHL personnel manually prepare data to summarize acreage, use of land, homestead acreage, and other data for the annual report. We found errors in the blue book such as the inclusion of easements as additional acreage, omitted parcels of Home lands, and differences between the blue book and the tax maps.

The use of tax maps as a basis for DHHL land records is also questionable because the Legislative Auditor of the State of Hawaii, in a January 1979 report, criticized the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for relying on tax maps for determining the status of State land ownership. The Legislative Auditor stated that the property tax records do not constitute an inventory of public lands nor all lands owned by the State. The Legislative Auditor reported that the records are intended for real property tax purposes and are concerned with who is to be billed for the taxes and not necessarily the true, ultimate, or reversionary owners of the land. Instead, the records may show the name of a lessee or other persons having some interest in the land.

An inventory of Home lands titled "A Land Inventory and Land Use Study

-p380-

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