Funding eliminates $10 fee for pickup
City Council adds $2 Million for recycling
The City Council hopes to end a proposed $10 garbage pickup fee before it even starts.
Councilmembers tacked on $2 million to the city budget to cover most of the costs related to curbside recycling for some 20,000 households that could start in September.
"I want to see a small group of people not burdened with an experiment," said Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall, who represents Kailua, one of three neighborhoods being considered for the program. The others are Hawaii Kai and Mililani.
Currently, residents get two regular trash pickups per week.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration plans to change that to one weekly trash pickup and one recycling collection, alternating between green waste and mixed recyclables such as newspapers, glass and plastics.
Under the proposal, households could get a second trash pickup each week for $10 per month.
City Environmental Services Director Eric Takamura said he favors the $10 fee because otherwise people would be tempted to trash their recyclables.
"If you don't give them an incentive, they'll still just throw away their trash because they'll still have twice-a-week pickup," Takamura said.
A $1.6 billion operating budget was approved yesterday by the City Council's Budget Committee. The Council will take a final vote on the budget on June 6.
» A residential tax rate of $3.29 per $1,000 in property value for single-family homes and apartments. The figure is 30 cents less than the current rate.
» A business tax rate of $12.40 for hotel, commercial and industrial properties is higher than the current $11.97 but lower than the $12.50 rate sought by Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
» A one-time $200 tax credit for homeowners who occupy their homes.
Takamura said it is too early to say what his department will do with the $2 million should the decision be made not to use it to offset the $10 fee.
Takamura said the administration is moving forward with plans to begin a curbside recycling collection program in two of the three targeted communities, for a total of 20,000 single-family residences.
The administration recently completed a series of community meetings to garner comment from residents across the island on the proposed curbside recycling program.
Takamura said the program could start as early as Sept. 1.
Single-family households currently have automated twice-weekly trash pickup and twice-monthly green waste collection.
Some $1 million in startup costs has already been appropriated in the proposed $1.6 billion operating budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Budget Chairman Todd Apo said he believes that $3 million budgeted for curbside recycling should be enough to develop a successful program.
"It's taking in all the factors that we talked about, from how you deal with twice-a-week versus once-a-week pickup," said Apo after nearly 10 hours of budget discussions. "I don't initially like the idea of a $10 charge, but we also in the overall program need to find the right incentives and disincentives."
But he and Marshall said they are not entirely convinced that the administration will be able to overcome several obstacles from previous recycling attempts -- including union negotiations and contracting with a company to process the recyclable items the city collects -- to get the comprehensive curbside recycling program off the ground this year.
"I think we have plenty of time to talk about this," said Marshall, who is opposed to residents being charged for the second weekly garbage collection.