LIHUE — Kauai Community Recycling Service, Inc. wasn’t given a chance to succeed, some councilmembers said.
“I see this as a real setback for recycling. I agree that the county set KRCS up to fail by not giving accurate guidelines in the request for proposal,” said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura. “The recycler wasn’t perfect either, but was caught off guard by unclear information.”
Mel Rapozo, council chair, agreed.
“We should have known that facility could not deal with the volume we expected the contractor to accept,” he said. “We set that guy up to fail.”
On Wednesday, Keith Suga, county Capital Improvement Projects program manager, Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer, and Allison Fraley, solid waste program coordinator, attended the Public Works and Parks and Recreation Committee meeting to discuss the Kauai Resource Center and why it closed in December.
The county reached an interim agreement with Garden Island Disposal, Inc. in April to restore their HI5 bottle redemption and commercially generated recyclable services.
That agreement came about four months after KRC closed, citing the need for permitting, contracting and mobilization processes for a new vendor, KRCS, Inc.
The contract required KRCS, Inc., owned by Chris Loiseau, to provide redemption, residential and commercial recycling services.
But, shortly after the contract, there was a dispute between KRCS Inc. and the county regarding the scope of services.
”We ultimately reached a mutual agreement that was in the best of interest of both parties to cancel the contract,” Suga said.
During that time there were intermittent closures of resource centers, and KRC, located in Ahukini, was no longer able to accept non-HI5 recyclables.
“We recognize frustration and concerns from various residents and commercial businesses, and we moved urgently to incorporate an interim solution to minimize lapse of services,” Suga said.
On April 21, the county and KRCS, Inc. signed a severance agreement, Suga said. As part of the agreement, the county paid KRCS, Inc. $235,000.
And on April 26, resource centers around the island started taking HI5 items again.
Suga said they are seeking a permanent solution.
Councilman Ross Kagawa asked why the Public Works Department didn’t address the concerns in December.
Tabata said because the contract was new, they were required to allow a grace period.
Councilman Arthur Brun said he hopes the county learned from the experience.
“All we can ask is getting it done right so we don’t end up in anything like this,” he said. “I see a lot of people mad when recycling centers closed down, so we know people are recycling. They’re taking it to heart and are doing the right thing. So we as a county cannot screw it up for them.”