No change for residents: County seeks autonomy on solid waste

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Carroll County is moving forward with a plan to establish its own solid waste district, but the move won’t have any impact on the controversial $18 assessment being charged to property owners in connection with the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District.

In fact, most residents won’t notice any change whatsoever, according to Berryville mayor Tim McKinney.

“Not a bit,” McKinney said.

Carroll County’s application is expected to be reviewed soon by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission. The commission is scheduled to meet Friday, April 26, and Thursday, May 23.

McKinney said the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District board of directors has voted not to oppose Carroll County’s application. He said forming its own solid waste district would give the county more local control. The county already operates its own solid waste authority.

“We feel like we’ve got to do things our way,” he said. “Carroll County has been way out in front on things like recycling. We’ll still do everything we’re already doing. … We’ll get our own grants and handle our own money.”

McKinney said he is not aware of any resistance to Carroll County’s application.

“We haven’t had any opposition,” he said.

Carroll County property owners would still be assessed the annual $18 fee ordered by a Pulaski County circuit judge in connection with the failed North Arkansas Board of Regional Sanitation landfill in Baxter County even if the Carroll County application is approved.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ordered the assessment of the $18 fee for property owners in Carroll, Baxter, Boone, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties. The assessment is intended to repay bondholders who purchased $12,340,000 in bonds issued by the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District in October 2005 to finance the purchase of the NABORS landfill in Baxter County. The assessment, which could continue for 30 years or more, also is intended to repay the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for up to $16.5 million in costs related to closing and cleaning up the landfill.

Fayetteville attorneys Matt Bishop and Wendy Howerton have filed separate lawsuits in each of the six affected counties, seeking to have the assessment declared an illegal exaction. The Carroll County suit is scheduled for a final hearing Wednesday, June 19, at the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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