WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i – Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa announced that his office will be submitting a budget amendment tomorrow so that the county can resume landfill operations and trash pick-up on holidays.
Mayor Arakawa attempted to speak to council about the proposal, and ask that if the council was willing to guarantee that the budget amendment would pass he would be able to restore all cuts made to trash pick-up and landfill hours. The amendment is needed because of Maui County Charter 9-12 the department is not allowed to spend money which has not yet been approved by council.
But despite the mayor sitting in council for most of the morning, Budget and Finance Chair Mike White refused to recognize the mayor, allow him to speak or allow other council members to ask him questions during today's committee hearing.
“It is sad that Councilman White does not care enough about the public services that we as elected officials are entrusted to provide for the community so much so that he refused to talk about it in a public setting," said Mayor Arakawa. "Nobody wants this. I myself have Friday trash pick-up and experienced the same two weeks in a row where my trash was not picked up because of Iselle and the following holiday.
If Councilman White truly wants this to end then help me do what should have been done in the first place; fund necessary positions so that our landfill operations can remain in compliance with all state and federal regulations and we can resume holiday trash pick-up."
The Mayor also welcomed an audit of the department as suggested by Councilmember Riki Hokama and Councilmember Elle Cochran during the Budget & Finance Committee’s meeting on Tuesday.
“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,” said the Mayor. "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.
If Mike White wanted to win the Primary Election he should have paid more attention to the needs of constituents instead of pontificating on Akaku."
The Department apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates the community's understanding and cooperation. For reference on the issue the following is a comprehensive timeline of the different times council was warned about possible service cuts:
- On Feb. 3, 2014, during an Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee meeting
- On April 10, 2014, during a Finance and Budget Committee meeting
- On April 29, 2014 council members were given a simple two-sheet document which stated that without current funding the county would be forced to close landfills "to prevent DOH Permit non-compliance" and "reduce landfill hours of service at all landfills." Also on this date Managing Director Keith Regan told the Finance and Budget Committee "If positions from our landfill operations are cut, trash pickup and landfill hours of operation will be negatively affected. Acting Solid Waste Division Chief Michael Ratte also said that "we can't afford to leave these landfills open whenever there's non-compliance and safety issues." To which Councilman White replied, ". . . you provided us with a outstanding report and I think many of us very much agree to what your concerns are."
- On June 16, 2014 Mayor Arakawa issued 8 line item vetoes, one of which addressed "personnel and expenditure restrictions on the solid waste management fund," which could force the county to "shorten hours of operation at the Central Maui Landfill." This information was repeated again in a Maui News article the next day.
- On June 19, 2014 the county released a press release entitled "Budget Constraints to Impact Solid Waste Services in the New Fiscal Year."
- Maui News headline on June 21, 2014, "Services to be cut if veto overridden" was a story which expressed the county's concerns about the curtailment of "refuse pickup scheduling and landfill hours."
- On June 23, 2014 despite numerous warnings the council overrode the mayor's line-item vetoes.
- On July 20, 2014 both Environmental Management Director Kyle Ginoza and acting Solid Waste Division Chief Michael Ratte co-authored a Maui News opinion piece which explained that the council's actions would force "upcoming reductions in landfill and refuse collection services."
- Maui News headline on July 30, 2014, entitled "Noncompliance, safety issues lead to cut in services," explained the loss of services once again saying that "without the compliance-related positions . . . the division has no choice but to reduce landfill hours and refuse collections in attempt to address compliance."
All timeline documents are available either by searching the either the archives or press release section of www.mauicounty.gov. Please call 270-8222 for assistance if needed.