Ask the Mayor: Why the Big Increase for Trash Collection?

June 19, 2016, 12:01 PM HST · Updated June 19, 12:17 PM
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File Image Courtesy County of Maui.

File Image Courtesy County of Maui.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Honorable Mayor Arakawa,

Q: The cost of residential solid waste service (trash collection) on the island of Maui has increased by 33% between the first half of 2015 and the second half of 2016, i.e. from $108 for January to June 2015, to $144 in the most recent invoice covering July to December 2016.

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No noticeable improvement in service has been observed over that period. What is being done to contain the cost burden of trash and other services to residents? Thank you for your consideration of this issue of great concern.

A: The short answer is that for many years the cost of collecting and landfilling residential refuse has been heavily subsidized from the general fund by property taxes, but the County Council has determined that the refuse program needs to be self-funded through customer fees.

These higher fees are a step in that direction, although even at this higher level the program is still heavily subsidized. This means that the property tax-based subsidy has included properties that don’t subscribe to service from the County’s Residential Refuse Collection Program.

When customer fees are at the level that the refuse program is self-funded, the property taxes that had been used to subsidize the program can then be either lowered or used to fund other programs.

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