Pay delay

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council deferred a measure on Wednesday that would establish a new waste management program and create an incremental fee structure based on how much residents throw away.

The seven-member board, by a split 4-3 vote, agreed to delay the introduction of Bill 2551 for two weeks and give Department of Public Works officials enough time to discuss their proposal during the Aug. 20 County Council meeting.

Councilmen Tim Bynum, Ross Kagawa and Mel Rapozo voted against the bill’s deferral.

“Yes, people will come up to you in the street and tell you, ‘No way,’ if they don’t know what is actually being proposed,” Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said. “It’s not a flat increase at all. It’s moving us toward recycling and sustainability and it’s moving us toward increased diversion and lower landfill costs. If we want sustainability on this island in terms of our trash, we have to move this way, but don’t take my word for it — let’s hear what the plan actually proposes, let’s hear what the public thinks about it and let’s make our decision as representatives of this island.”

Kagawa and Rapozo spoke out against the proposal and said that they were wary about imposing higher fees on residents at a time when some have already seen jumps on their real property tax bills.

“I think that we can revisit this once we address the issues that we currently face with the existing tax and fee structure, but at this time, I believe that an increase at this time is simply not acceptable,” Rapozo said.

Bynum, who voted against the deferral, said he wanted the bill to pass on first reading so that residents and businesses can provide input on the proposal.

“Whatever we decide regarding these revenue bills, we may all agree that these are pre-mature for this year, but I intend to pass them all through public hearing to give the community an opportunity to chime in,” Bynum said. “Voting a bill on first reading is not a commitment to a bill — it’s just to move the process forward that allows the public to chime in.”

Department of Public Works officials will present their position on the proposal during the next council meeting, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Historic County Building’s Council Chambers.

Written public testimony may also be sent to: counciltestimony@kauai.gov.

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