Debate Over Restoration of Trash Services Heats Up
By Wendy Osher
The debate over the restoration of landfill hours and trash pickup on holidays heated up during committee deliberations yesterday.
Budget and Finance Committee chair Mike White and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, who are both seeking restoration of service, but under different terms, lashed out at each other via press releases at the end of business on Tuesday.
In July, the County of Maui Environmental Management division announced plans to reduce solid waste services in the new fiscal year citing budget constraints. The service reduction was implemented on August 1, 2014.
Mayor Arakawa announced that his office will be submitting a budget amendment today that seeks funding of positions so that the county can remain in compliance with state and federal regulations. He said the amendment is needed because under the County Charter, the department is not allowed to spend money which has not yet been approved by the council.
Last week, the Mayor also offered clarification on the holiday schedule in his Ask The Mayor column in an effort to address a question over missed trash and green waste schedules.
Meantime, budget chair White claims the reduction in service was caused by the administration and can easily be fixed without council action.
In a press release statement he claimed the problem was “manufactured” by the administration, and alleged that there was “no rationale” for the reduction in service.
In his statement, White said, “We are talking about 1% of the budget that is in question, yet the administration is throwing recycling under the bus and putting trash pick-up and landfill operations in a tailspin.”
White continued saying, “without question, the administration has the ability to provide the resources for services that residents deserve and expect.”
Arakawa claims the funds are needed and welcomed an audit that was suggested by two committee members saying, “An audit will show that we have said over and over again that we need to comply with state law, and that not funding necessary positions would result in public services being affected.” Like White, he also alleged politics were at play saying, “This just shows that certain council members are desperate for a headline in the press during this election year, and are willing to sacrifice public services like trash pick-up to do so.”
Arakawa also said that despite sitting in council for most of the morning, he was not recognized, allowed to speak, or allowed to field questions from other council members during the committee hearing. The committee did hear from Department of Environmental Management Director Kyle Ginoza during the meeting.
For some residents, residential refuse was missed due to the impacts of Tropical Iselle one week, and the Labor Day holiday on Monday.
***Direct links to statements from White and Arakawa are available at the following direct links: