New proposal seeks to charge Oahu residents for trash pick up

Local News

Honolulu is the only county where residents don’t have to pay for trash pick up. That may change with a new proposal in the city council.

“We’re trying again because as part of resiliency, there is cost to generating opala, and if we can reduce the amount of opala we generate, that reduces the need for everyday landfill,” said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu City and County Mayor.

Under the proposal, homeowners on Oahu would pay $5 a month, or $60 a year, to have their trash, recyclables and green waste picked up. That’s half the fee that’s been proposed in the past. 

The mayor believes the change could bring in about $5.8 million dollars in revenue to the City.

“This operating budget [of Fiscal Year 2020] of 2.83 billion is about 8.6 percent higher than [Fiscal Year 2019], and that’s a substantial increase given the demands that we’re facing,” said Mayor Caldwell.

In addition to the trash fee, the proposal also looks to charge a fee for bulky item pick up and use of the city’s convenience centers and transfer stations. Under the proposal, it will cost $5 a month to throw away bulky items at a convenience center or transfer station. It will cost $10 per cubic yard of the items collected to get it picked up from your place of residence.

City Council Chair Ann Kobayashi says she’s already hearing push back on the idea.

“It’s a difficult issue. Everyone’s having a, you know… Electric rates are going up. Water rates are going up. Bus fees… Everyone’s paying more for everything, and yet their salary’s don’t go up that much,” said Ann Kobayashi, City Council Chair.

She says in previous years the council has looked at other ways to cover the budget costs.

“Rather than always going to the taxpayer, maybe we have to look within and see where we need to cut within our own house rather than charging taxpayers again,” said Kobayashi.

The bill will be heard by the council on Friday.

To see a copy of the bill, you can visit this website.

To add public testimony, you can visit this website.

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