Landfill tipping fee increase sought

  • A commercial hauler heads to the Puuanahulu landfill on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • A commercial hauler stops to be wieghed at the Puuanahulu Landfill on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • A commercial hauler exits the Puuanahulu Landfill on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

HILO — Commercial haulers and others taking garbage to the landfill will be paying more to toss their trash, if the County Council agrees with a Department of Environmental Management request to raise tipping fees 33 percent over five years.

The increase is an attempt to keep up with the cost of living, improve service and try to make solid waste activities more self-sufficient instead of having to tap into the general fund, which comes from property taxes, Environmental Management Director Bill Kucharski said.

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“It will allow us to provide better services,” Kucharski said Tuesday.

Dumping refuse at the county transfer stations will remain free for residents, he said.

Fees at the landfill will increase from $85 a ton to $101 a ton starting July 1, then by $3 a ton each year until 2022, when it will be $113 per ton. It will take County Council action after that to raise it further.

Tipping fees were last raised in 2007.

Overdue accounts will be charged a 12 percent annual interest rate instead of the current 18 percent, but the penalty could begin accruing sooner than the current 60 days, according to changes in the bill.

Bill 82 is scheduled to be heard by the County Council Finance Committee at 10 a.m. Monday in Hilo council chambers.

Kucharski said he’s hoping for early approval so the department can figure its budget for the new fiscal year that starts July 1. The mayor has to present his first budget in March.

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Currently, tipping fees account for $9.6 million of the Solid Waste Division’s $18 million budget, Kucharski said.

Calls to local garbage collectors and haulers were not returned by press time Tuesday, but the private companies will likely raise their trash collection and dumpster prices to cover the higher tipping fees.