Monday, February 28, 2011


OH YOU MEAN THAT QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS: Even though on-line posting of the paperwork associated with Kaua`i County Council agenda items has been promised and re-promised for years it is still impossible to get access to it without a drive to Lihu`e.

That may be why a week or so back our friend Ken Taylor came running up to our door with his hair on fire, waiving a stack of papers showing us a passage, way at the end of a memo attached to a money bill- #2397- to request “funding to cover shortages in operating budget accounts for solid waste disposal and collection.”

Cryptically as all get out it reads:

The Shrimp Farm extracted approximately $250,000 to provide assurance that the white spot syndrome would be mitigated flying trash within there (sic) property and laying (sic) in their ponds that could potentially lead to the spread of the disease. The cost of mitigation beyond the settlement is questionable as well as the negative publicity that could have a direct impact on our future landfill siting efforts.(emphases added)

What it sounds like is that the county, at some time or another, paid the shrimp farm that borders the landfill a quarter of a million dollars for, well, it’s not quite clear what for.

We generally try to keep track of quarter million dollar settlements by the county, as does Ken and neither of us ever remember seeing it taken up at a televised meeting or even on a county council agenda.

So when the bill came up for public hearing last week Taylor basically read the above sentence and said neither he nor anyone remembers seeing it on the agenda much less a vote for payment of the money.

"Even a $900 park bench donation has to be approved by the council” Taylor said, also raising questions about why we would have to pay the shrimp farm anything since it was they who built their farm next to the existing dump, not the other way around.

Council Chair Jay Furfaro responded that “it appeared as a claim” against the county “on a previous agenda” and that he did remember an executive session (ES) on the matter.

When Taylor asked when the ES was and started demanding more answers, Furfaro said that Taylor’s “questions will be noted and I will raise those concerns with the legal department” regarding why the settlement- which apparent was made- was never voted upon in open session.

Taylor refused to settle for such a nebulous promise- one Furfaro has made many times on many matters without any follow-up repeatedly asking “when” he might get an answer.

Furfaro, saying he doesn’t even know if the case was indeed settled and that it might still “be open,” promised multiple times that “I’ll get the date (of the ES) and agenda item within a week.”

The matter appears on the Public Works Committee agenda this Wednesday which will be exactly one week from the Furfaro’s promise.

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