Who picks up the tab with 1 less county in solid waste district?


If the Ozark Solid Waste District contained one less county, what impact would it have on a court's decision imposing an $18 annual assessment fee against each residence and business parcel among the remaining five counties?

Until recently, Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass, who serves as the chairman of the solid waste district board, says it was not believed it would be an issue if Carroll County seceded and formed its own entity.

Carroll County officials had advised the board even with pulling away from the district residents there would continue to meet the obligations set out in a 2017 Pulaski County Circuit Court order.

The court order set the terms for paying the debt incurred in purchasing the NABORS waste hauling operation and landfill in northern Baxter County, leading to the $18 annual assessment fee.

Judge Pendergrass says the board was advised the decision to allow Carroll County to leave the district was one needing the approval of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. However, he says, the board could intervene if it chose to do so.

With a deadline looming earlier this year, the board met to consider the request and opted not to intervene.

Until recently, Judge Pendergrass says the board moved forward thinking the matter was behind them, along with the deadline for raising objections to the proposed move.

However, Pendergrass says when the board meets Friday morning, the topic has returned to the agenda, as a result of the court appointed attorney Geoffrey Treece of Little Rock saying not so fast.


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Judge Pendergrass says the receiver maintains under the terms of the settlement the six counties involved in the lawsuit are obligated to continue to provide services within the solid waste district.


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Judge Pendergrass says each county in the solid waste district continues to provide a number of services.


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Pendergrass says the receiver believes by Carroll County withdrawing from the solid waste district, it will endanger the Pulaski County court ruling.

Jeopardizing the court ruling would shift the payment of the debt to the remaining five counties, Baxter, Marion, Boone, Newton and Searcy. Judge Pendergrass says it is his opinion the additional debt would mean extending the life of the payment.

The second issue the board is scheduled to address Friday morning is a settlement with Methvin Sanitation. Methvin sued the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District and the White River Regional Solid Waste Management District in 2018 for what it termed excessive fees charged for dumping trash at a landfill in Fulton County.

Under the licensing requirement, a hauler must pay all fees in the district, consisting of $2 per ton of solid waste hauled to a landfill outside the district.

However, Methvin Sanitation has also being charged a $1 per-ton fee at the landfill in Fulton County, which is in the White River Regional Solid Waste Management District.

The suit seeks a judgment against the districts for the amount the company paid above the statutory $2 per ton allowed since June 1, 2017.

Friday's meeting will be held in the Harrison City Hall council chambers at 10.

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