Judge orders city to continue trash pickup pending lawsuit

Local News

Condominiums and non-profits that were about to lose free city trash pickup have been given a reprieve, at least for now.

KHON2 first reported the city’s decision to stop picking up trash from nearly 200 condominium associations and non-profit organizations last July.

But because of a pending lawsuit, Judge Karl Sakamoto ordered the city to continue that service.

At the Olaloa Retirement Community in Mililani-Mauka, Thursday was supposed to be the last day for free city trash pickup. That job was to go to a private trash collector at a cost of $1,800 a month.

Residents at the Ewa Apartments were about to lose that free service as well. To pick up their trash, management raised fees to pay up to $5,000 a month.

A state judge recently sided with the United Public Workers union, which filed suit against the city to continue the service. The city is now offering to do just that for those who are willing to take up its offer.

“Some entities have already signed contracts with private entities,” said Lori Kahikina, the city’s Director of Environmental Services. “We are contacting them to see if they want to retain our services.”

While Cadmus Properties, the management company for Ewa Apartments, as well as four other condo complexes, had already signed on with a private collector, the company will be able to take up the city’s offer. Cadmus negotiated a key clause in case there was a change of heart.

“When we negotiated with the refuse companies, we put a clause in there so we can back out of our contract without penalty,” said Chea Paet, Cadmus vice president.

That same escape clause was negotiated between the board of directors for Olaloa and its private trash collector.

The city says in order to keep the free service in place for the 181 non-profits and condo associations, it needs to buy new front-loader garbage trucks. A new truck would cost the city $375,000 and to fix the ones that are broken would cost between $30,000 and $40,000–money the city does not have.

The city also insists that when the service ends, the union trash collectors will be assigned other jobs.

KHON2 tried to reach United Public Workers, but the union has yet to comment.

The city still wants to drop the free service and will appeal the judge’s ruling.

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