Citywide Automated Trucks to Decrease Trash Bill
Fort Smith residents may soon see their trash bill get smaller over the next year. That’s because city directors move forward with a much debated automated trash service and end a collection quarrel.
In an unexpected vote Thursday night, directors unanimously agreed to continue converting homes in the city to automated trash collection.
“This is lots of debate, lots of thought, both sides weighed, and time to move on,” said City Director Phillip Merry.
Automated versus manual alley pick-up has been a battle that’s been brewing for almost a year.
“I’ve been for automation,” said City Director Kevin Settle. “It’s the way to do it.”
Directors couldn’t agree on the issue until Thursday night. Coincidently the same day, petitioners with the Vote for Automated effort discovered they were close to getting the matter on the November ballot.
“We discussed what our options were, whether we wanted to continue the fight or go ahead and try to make the compromise,” said resident Carolyn Plank.
Plank is a voice for many neighborhoods wanting to keep manual alley collection, but even she says it’s time to turn the other direction.
“We’ve done our fight, and it’s just time to move on,” said Plank.
And while many may have to compromise, people we spoke with say they’re glad directors can focus on other issues.
“Emails and phone calls, now on both sides, were saying it’s time to move on,” said Merry.
But it’s not all bad news for those who oppose the automated service. The sanitation department says you’ll pay about a $1.10 less on your bill. The automated trucks will save citizens more than 3.6 million dollars over the next 10 years.
It’s not clear whether or not petitioners will still seek to get the trash vote on the November ballot.
“Why would the people vote for something they already have?” questioned Merry.
Petitioners have ten days to collect the remaining ten verified signatures needed to take it to a vote.