Ask The Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: Would it be possible for the county to make a compost-making site? It could be sort of like a recycling program for the green waste on Maui. I’ve noticed how Maui has the capability to thrive in making compost when I see truckloads of cut-down trees and branches to dead leaves (aka green waste) hauled away to the landfill. I not only see it beneficial for people who do land maintenance with the green waste hauling but for people who do agriculture like home gardening to farming. It would save landfill space and gardeners/farmers on buying imported compost. Thank you for your time.

A: There actually already is a compost-making site run by Maui EKO Systems, which has been operating out of the Central Maui Landfill since 1995. According to our Department of Environmental Management, some 17,700 tons of green waste and unpainted pallets were processed so far for the 2018 fiscal year. However, EKO officials said the total tonnage is probably closer to 30,000 tons because residential haulers don’t need to weigh their loads to the landfill. EKO management said that they produce a “Class A biosolids compost” for unrestricted use.

Q: Are any steps being taken to stop Mainland organizations from sending their homeless to Maui? Can stopping this even be possible? Can we send these homeless away ourselves?

A: The county can’t keep someone from moving to another state or force them to leave. However, there is a “Return to Home” program sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. The program pays for a homeless individual from the Mainland to go back home if they want to leave, with the condition that the Family Life Center would first need to confirm that the individual would have a place to stay with family or friends upon their return.

Q: I currently have a fully operational food truck on Lanai. It is called Anuenue Juice Truck. We offer smoothies, fresh cold pressed juice and acai bowls. I am looking for more locations/opportunities to park and sell my product. Can I drive around and park in residential neighborhoods, similar to an ice cream truck? Can I drive around and park in commercial areas?

A: Yes, there is something called a “Roving Vendor Permit” required from our Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing. Please note that this is a separate permit from the one you need from the state Department of Health to be a permitted mobile unit.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth 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