Q: I got a flier from somebody at the recycling center when I went to drop off my cardboard. Is it true you're planning to shut down all of the county recycling centers?
A: No, that is not true. There will be no changes to the current level of service until further analysis can be done, due to the amount of confusion and concern that has been expressed. Fliers had been circulated at a residential recycling drop-box center recently by employees of a private vendor that the county pays to haul residential recyclables for processing. These fliers were not generated or distributed by Maui County. The fliers provided only partial information and ensuing rumors have spawned a great deal of misinformation. The budget proposal that I sent to the County Council contains the same amount of funds for the county's recycling program as this year, which will give us time to transition the county-subsidized residential drop-box operations to private vendors. During this transition, we anticipate that there will be no disruption to the public's ability to recycle items at residential drop boxes. At the same time, we need to ask for help to keep costs down by recycling conscientiously and by cutting down on the amount of material that needs to be recycled in the first place. The public needs to understand that it takes about $300 of county tax money per ton per recyclable to haul and process the materials, then the processor pays even more to ship the material to a facility in Asia or on the Mainland.
Q: Do we have a concrete program to reduce the population of deer on Maui? I hear many complaints, and I can no longer grow anything in my Upcountry garden, but I don't recall hearing about any programs in effect to stem this problem.
A: Recently, the Maui Axis Deer Working Group was awarded state grant funding from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, and just completed the interview process for a coordinator position. The Working Group, a multistakeholder group of farmers, ranchers and hunters and resort industry, state and county officials, will work closely with the new coordinator to finalize a draft management plan, map areas that are affected, devise strategies for deer control in various regions and help mitigate damage. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development is currently funding a grant to the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Co-op, which was formed late last year and is already on the job with deer control on specific properties. Part of its goal is to explore the feasibility of harvesting venison that may be U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified and made available commercially in markets and restaurants. The Office of Economic Development also supplied funding support to the Working Group. Should any residents be experiencing problems with axis deer, they are encouraged to contact Agricultural Specialist Kenneth Yamamura at 270-7808 or Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons at 270-8250.
Q: Will the new police structure being built off Piilani Highway in Kihei have solar photovoltaic panels on its roof?
A: Due to interconnectivity issues, initial plans for 400 solar photovoltaic panels at the new Kihei Police Station were not approved by Maui Electric Co. However, tentative plans are being made to issue a new, multifacility Request for Proposals that would allow solar developers to propose "micro-grids" that could allow solar PV at the site. Currently, the county has solar PV systems installed at 15 facilities. We hope to be able to add the Kihei Police Station to that list if we can work through the interconnection issues. Over the next 20 years, the county expects to save $10.4 million with nearly 56 million kilowatt-hours generated by solar energy.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at email@example.com, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th floor, Wailuku, 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column; to request a personal response to a concern, email firstname.lastname@example.org.