Fort Smith Department of Sanitation Proposes Landfill Rate Increases to City Directors

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The costs of disposing trash from outside the Fort Smith city limits could rise.

The Department of Sanitation is proposing a cost increase it said it needs in order to continue operations at the Fort Smith Landfill.

Director Baridi Nkokehli said the department is running out of money.

“At the rate we're going, we actually may have to close accepting waste from the counties outside of our city limits, because we're running out of the means to support that operation,” he said.

He presented a proposal to city leaders on Tuesday (Nov. 10), asking for a rate increase from $34.43 to $42.40 per ton of trash brought to the landfill.

The last time the rate went up was in 2007.

“We need to raise the rate to cover our cost,” Nkokheli said.

If approved, Nkokehli said the third parties collecting trash outside of Fort Smith city limits would see the expense.

“They’re going to have to pass that increase, if it should be passed, on to their customers,” he said.

Nkokehli said if trash collectors decide to pass that expense to customers, there is a way for them to avoid paying it, by asking the City of Fort Smith to collect trash instead.

“We can pick up your waste and bring it ourselves -- at our cost, and you don't have to go to a third party and pay their profit margin to bring your waste to us,” he said. "I'm not trying to put them out of business. All I'm saying is that if they're going to charge you 'x' number of dollars to pick up your trash and transport it to Fort Smith, they ought to pay their fair share for being able to do that."

The landfill accepts trash from Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, LeFlore and Sequoyah counties.

Nkokehli said the proposal would also effect commercial industrial trash haulers. He said he is proposing they would pay $63.87 per ton, both inside and outside Fort Smith city limits.

The department said the next step is to meet with city directors again on Monday (Nov.16) during a budget review meeting.

Nkokehli said the proposal is expected to be voted on by the city board of directors in December.