New city garbage trucks collecting dust

Published: May. 16, 2011 at 4:26 PM HST|Updated: May. 16, 2011 at 10:38 PM HST
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New city garbage trucks not yet in use.
New city garbage trucks not yet in use.
Carroll Cox
Carroll Cox
Westley Chun
Westley Chun

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HALAWA VALLEY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A fleet of brand new garbage trucks sit side-by-side in the back of the city's facility maintenance yard.

The vehicles can crush and carry large items like TV's, mattresses and furniture. But they've been parked since the city took delivery in March.

"It is a waste of our money as taxpayers," said Carroll Cox of EnviroWatch.

The city contracted with trash truck builder McNeilus Company for about $1.9 million for the trucks.

Cox said some city refuse workers have complained to him that the truck cabin can't seat a three-man crew, which is necessary when the trucks are on the freeway or going to and from job sites.

"Though it complied with the federal government rules the reality was they were simply too small and presented a safety problem for the men on a daily basis," Cox said.

The city refutes that claim.

"The vehicles were designed by the manufacturer in full compliance with all federal safety requirements. The safety requirements include for the seats and seat belts to accommodate three individuals." Facility Maintenance director Westley Chun said.

He said the trucks are waiting for repairs to be done before the city gives them the green light.

"The vendor is in the process of rectifying some issues that we discovered. And, one by one, they're taking the items to their shop to have those items fixed," Chun said.

But Cox said if that's the case inspectors the city sent to McNeilus's Minnesota plant last year should have spotted the problems before the trucks were shipped here.

"What are we focusing on? Are we focusing on the proficiency and service to the people and getting the job done? Or are we just simply stumbling and fumbling. This appears more of a stumble and fumble," he said.

The city will pay McNeilus when the trucks are operational.

"The best guess would be in about thirty days," Chun said.

Copyright Hawaii News Now 2011. All rights reserved.