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DHHL also has a potentially sensitive issue to resolve before future awards are made in the Waimea area on the island of Hawaii. The issue relates to the cancellation of the 1952 list for the awarding of leases in the vicinity of Waimea. The Commission, in 1952, selected 187 applicants for the award of 48 pastoral lots and 27 applicants for the award of 8 farm lots. The names selected were then drawn by lottery in order to establish the priority from which the final selection was made. The list created by the 1952 lottery was cancelled on May 14, 1956 and, at the same time, the staff of the Commission was instructed to accept new applications for Waimea homesteads.
Some of the 1952 applicants reapplied at that time (1956), and others reapplied later. Some of these latter applicants contend that they should be allowed preference over applicants who were not on the 1952 list. The basis of their contention is that they never received notification that the 1952 list had been cancelled. We noted that there were three awards to individuals in 1962 that were not on the 1952 list. DHHL personnel were reviewing the problem at the time of our review, and had net yet determined if all applicants had been properly notified.
The Legislative Auditor of the State of Hawaii, in a September 1979 audit report, also reported that the eligibility lists contained many applicants whom the DHHL had not been able to contact. The Legislative Auditor recommended that DHHL amend its rules and regulations to provide for removal from the lists those applicants who continually fail to respond. DHHL has been reluctant to make such a change, and at the present time the applicants are being placed in an inactive status rather than dropped from the lists.
Since the eligibility lists are the basis for planning of future projects and awards, we believe there should be a more concerted effort to establish a listing that represents real demand.
1. We recommend that the Hawaiian Homes Commission establish policies and procedures wherein applicants are:
- a. Dropped from the eligibility lists when reasonable efforts to verify their whereabouts and interests are unsuccessful.
- b. Assigned a lower preference priority when offers are rejected and that they he dropped from the listings after a reasonable number of rejections.
2. We further recommend that DHHL:
- a. Notify applicants as to the approval or rejection of their application within 30 days of the receipt of the applications.
- b. Establish a numerical accountability system aimed at providing assurance that all applications are properly accounted for.
5. Leasing Activities
Section 204 of the Act authorizes DHHL to lease to the public any lands that are not required for homesteading purposes. The revenues from these activities, which include general leases, revocable permits, licenses, easements, and rights of entry permits, were about $1.5 million
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