Auditor's Report States that Requests for More Division Positions Justified
News Release from Office of the Mayor, Maui County, March 9, 2016
Wailuku, Maui - The County Auditor's latest report states that the Maui County Solid Waste Division, which is in charge of landfills and trash pickup, is "generally consistent with other publicly-operated systems." Although the audit noted that costs for Maui County landfills are somewhat higher, it was also acknowledged that the county operates more landfills than other counties with three on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, as well as a fourth in "remotely-located" Hana.
The audit then concluded that the request that the department made for more positions was justified because the division needed to "maintain acceptable levels of regulatory compliance."
The audit also took a look at the county's Integrated Waste Conversion and Energy Project (IWCEP). Unfortunately the audit's findings were skewed because the auditor refused to use the county's evaluation of how much landfill space is worth. The county values each "hypothetical future landfill cell" at $30 a ton, adjusted from $25.50 a ton for a reasonable rate of inflation.
Instead, the auditor uses the value of $13.74 to $15.43 a ton to draw upon his conclusions. Budget and Finance Chair Riki Hokama seized upon this to insinuate that the county's IWCEP would therefore cost taxpayers money, instead of saving them money.
"The anticipated net costs will not exceed the annual or additional costs," said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. "In other words the county will not be paying any more than if we were doing this waste to energy project ourselves.
We ask that Councilman Hokama consider this fact, since the county charges commercial operators $90 a ton to landfill their garbage. If the $15 price tag were accurate, wouldn't the county then be ripping commercial customers off considerably if our landfill space was worth less than a quarter of what they are paying?"
Landfills are not just holes in the ground. They need to be engineered to be environmentally sound, not to mention safe for public use as well as staffed by qualified workers. The county asks that the council ponder the true cost of landfills, and what space there is worth, as they take a look at this audit."
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