Bill for trash pickup fee passes first hurdle

Charging for trash pickup… the city wants it, but Oahu residents are saying, “Not so fast.”

The proposal would charge homeowners $10 per month to have their trash picked up. Currently, there’s no charge.

The city says trash collection costs more than $50 per month, per home. So the city would still be paying for most of it.

“Well, I’m not happy about because my property taxes have already jumped dramatically this year, like $150,000 in one year. So just to have another add-on, on top of that seems to be a little bit too much,” Honolulu resident James Young said.

Others aren’t exactly thrilled, but say they understand.

“If that’s the way it’s going to be. No such thing as a free lunch,” Honolulu resident Jane Martin said. “The cost of living is soaring and that includes the cost of running the city.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who proposed the bill, says the fee would be tacked on to your current real property tax bill. He believes it’s the fair thing to do.

But for those who want to opt out…

“Right now, if they don’t want to have garbage pickup, they can elect not to have it and the bins would be taken away,” Mayor Caldwell said.

But not all councilmembers think it’s so simple.

“I think it’s politically correct for us to say, ‘No, let’s not increase taxes’ or ‘No let’s not increase fees,’ but the burden then falls on us to see how do we balance the budget,” Honolulu City Councilmember Breene Harimoto said.

“In a significant community within my district, that pays probably the highest rates of real property tax based on the value of homes, there is no recycling program,” Honolulu City Councilmember Ernie Martin said.

The bill passed first reading and now heads to the budget committee.

Overall, the mayor says he’s pleased that the council moved the bill forward.

“I understand it’s not a popular thing to do, but I believe it’s the right thing to do. It’s the fair thing to do. It’s the equitable thing to do. So I will continue to work with them and address their concerns,” Mayor Caldwell said.

If the bill is passed, the new fee would begin in January 2015.

Click here to read the bill in its entirety.

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