LIHU’E – The whole gang was back at the Kaua’i County Council chambers
Wednesday morning to talk about garbage.
There was plenty of dumping on
each other and plenty of opinions were incinerated before further discussion
was set for Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m.
Councilman Bryan Baptiste had requested
that the county administration come to a council Public Works Committee meeting
and provide an update on the county’s overall solid-waste management
But first, an old discussion on personnel was recycled.
Maryanne Kusaka and Jean Camp, executive on solid-waste, reiterated the need
for help for solid-waste manager Troy Tanigawa, who was working alone until
Camp climbed aboard in February.
According to Kusaka, at least two years
have been spent trying to get an engineer employed to assist
“Troy needs help. After four years of learning the process, Troy
has come a long way. Troy has worked at a gross disadvantage. We propose to
give him…training that will benefit the county in the long run,” Kusaka
She said the county could get a solid-waste manager that was more
advanced in his career than Tanigawa, but she implied it would be too
“We are fortunate to have Troy. He has not done a perfect job…but
who has? We could advertise, but we would pay $100,000 to $150,000 to do this
masterful job,” Kusaka said.
Kusaka suggested keeping Tanigawa in his
position, although no one in any recent public meetings had suggested he be
relieved of his duties.
To help Tanigawa, the mayor and Camp are seeking
two new hires: An operations maintenance supervisor and a clerical
administrative support person.
Kusaka also talked about training to get
Tanigawa “up to speed.”
Possible programs mentioned included college
“My real position in life is to help young people to gain
advancement,” Kusaka said, calling Tanigawa “a loyal employee. He’s worked here
for four years.”
Although no decisions were made at today’s committee
meeting, most of the council members went on record as supporting the Public
Works Department interviewing and hiring the two people Kusaka and Camp asked
The council will have to officially approve the requests at a later
There wasn’t such a consensus about the seemingly interminable
discussion—ongoing now for at least four years—about what Kaua`i should do
with its garbage.
Camp explained option A—a new landfil—and option B—a
dispersion facility combined with a landfill.
Estimated costs per ton of
the two methods hadn’t changed: $55 per ton for the landfill option and $89 to
$144 per ton for the incinerator-diversion plant/landfill option.
one seemed able to answer Councilman Randall Valenciano’s question about how
much it would cost the taxpayers.
Tempers frayed pretty quickly during the
Councilman Gary Hooser was asking Camp some general questions,
and when she asked him a rhetorical question in return, Councilman Ron Kouchi
entered the fray.
“I’m a little confused. I thought we were paying you”
for information, Kouchi said.
Camp talked about price per ton, but
Valenciano wasn’t satisfied. He said it would be “difficult for me to approve
plan B without knowing the numbers beforehand or the impact on
Public comment didn’t cool the discussion.
asked why the Mayor was worried about spending $80,000 to $120,000 for a solid
waste expert while the county was entertaining the notion of spending millions
for a waste diversion facility.
“This is not an intelligent place to
scrimp. (Tanigawa) needs a mentor more than anything,” Edwards
Finally, the council asked for more information about the two
most-mentioned options for garbage disposal.
“We need to look at some other
sources and some other municipalities to see how they do it,” Councilman Daryl
“I would agree,” Kouchi said, “that irrespective of what
position we take (on landfill versus diversion plant), I am ready to support
the additional positions. But I feel like we are playing pin the tail on the
donkey and there is no donkey in this game. What are we willing to pay as a
community in regards to our environment? It’s absurd to think we can make a
decision at this point.”
Valenciano proposed a two-week deferral to gather
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at
245-3681 (ext. 252) and firstname.lastname@example.org