LIHUE — The number of abandoned vehicles on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is rising each year, a report said.
The Kauai Police Department ordered the towing of 653 vehicles over the 2019 fiscal year, The Garden Island reported Sunday.
There are more than 270 pending complaints. Each vehicle costs a few hundred dollars to remove, although the figure can climb as high as $2,000 depending upon a vehicle's condition and location, officials said.
Police oversaw the removal of 404 abandoned and derelict vehicles in fiscal year 2017 and 498 in fiscal year 2018. Hawaii's fiscal year runs from July 1 through the end of the following June.
Kauai taxpayers funded $411,000 in handling and disposal costs for abandoned and derelict vehicles in 2017 and about $423,000 in 2018. This year the county has already spent about $491,000, officials said.
The figures do not take into account payroll costs and the county labor cost for to deal with the vehicles, officials said.
"Our police officers, the abandoned vehicle coordinator, fiscal personnel, finance department personnel and other county staff all have a role, and spend time addressing this issue," said Kauai Assistant Police Chief Mark Begley.
A Kauai County Council committee last week approved a proposal to establish the same beautification fee for rental vehicles that residents pay when registering vehicles, which goes toward vehicle removal.
Residents can be charged up to $10 annually, while rental-car companies have a $1 annual cap, which the legislation would remove, officials said.
"The council needs to continue trying to help the police," said council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa.