Ruling forces city to continue collecting condo garbage

Ruling forces city to continue collecting condo garbage
Published: Jan. 29, 2015 at 10:43 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2015 at 10:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A judge is ordering the city to continue collecting trash at 181 condos and non-profits, when the service was supposed to stop at the end of the month.

The ruling halts the city's plan to end trash collection for 181 condos, churches and non-profits.

"I believe about 30 of them have already discontinued our service and have started using a contractor," said Lori Kahikina, director of the city Department of Environmental Services.

The United Public Workers union filed for a temporary restraining order.The union's suing the city, claiming canceling the trash collection will privatize a city service.

"The city did not contract with a private contractor to provide the services. Rather the city's decision to end the services was based on principals of fairness and equity," city Corporation Counsel Donna Leong said.

The city said 4,000 other entities pay private companies for their trash collection. Richard Emery's company manages 22 condo associations on that list of 181 groups that used the city for trash pickup.

"What we have is a group of condominiums that can meet the city's requirements and schedule, and that service should be maintained," he said.

If forced to continue the service indefinitely, Kahikina said the city will have to buy new trucks at $300,000 apiece to replace an aging fleet.

"They're in pretty bad condition. And it's a safety thing for our employees," she said.

Emery said condo owners pay association fees that pay for the city to take away garbage.

"We're in contact with our associations to determine if we can get back to the city service. Our recommendation is to go back to the city service," he said.

Kahikina said canceling the service would not affect 13 unionized workers who pick up the trash.

"The employees would still be working, still be servicing," she said.

The city will appeal the judge's decision. The TRO is in place pending the outcome of the UPW's lawsuit.

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