Welcome to Inside Honolulu! The city has a new mayor and Walmart is buying city $350K in computers and software. Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

Walmart buying city $350K in computers, software

The City Council’s Zoning Committee advanced a resolution that would allow Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting to accept a $350,000 gift from Walmart Stores Inc., and Sam’s West, Inc.

The money would be used to help the city develop an electronic plan review processing system, including hardware and software.

“They’re providing us the adequate hardware, upgrading the computers, our screens and the servers, and then the software,” DPP Director David Tanoue said. “It’s very unusual for Walmart to do this. They don’t want this spreading.”

Tanoue and council members on the Zoning Committee rejected the idea that mega-corporations Walmart and Sam’s Club might use the gift as leverage to move forward with local development projects in the future.

“The Kapolei store is the last one, and they’re done with it,” Tanoue said. “The attorneys who’ve been handling that Walmart case contacted me. They mentioned that they’re going through the final things with the Walmart store and they did have a remainder of funds, and asked if there was a way they could assist the city or the department in utilizing that (money) before it goes back to corporate.”

In an e-mail response to Civil Beat, Walmart spokeswoman Angie Stoner echoed Tanoue: “We have been working with the city to finalize matters for the project at the Honolulu Walmart/Sam’s Club location on Keeaumoku Street and are pleased to support local efforts through this one-time contribution.”

The full City Council will have to approve the gift before it’s accepted. The fact that five council members on the Zoning Committee expressed strong support for the resolution indicates it will easily pass.

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