Fort Smith directors set to vote on sanitation service shift

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 54 views 

The Fort Smith Board of Directors are on track to approve the Fort Smith Department of Sanitation taking over sanitation services now provided by Altes Sanitation.

At issue is about 4,700 residential trash accounts in the southern area of Fort Smith around Fianna Hills. The contract Altes had to provide the service expires July 2010, and Fort Smith Department of Sanitation (DOS) Director Baridi Nkokheli has asked the board to allow the department to handle all residential trash collection in the city. Presently, Altes is the only third-party trash service handling residential waste in Fort Smith, with the DOS handling 82%, or the other 20,820 accounts. (Link here for more details on the issue.)

During the board’s Tuesday (Oct. 27) study session, Directors Steven Tyler and Andre Good recommended the board vote during its Nov. 3 to direct the service to the Fort Smith DOS.

However, prior to the action by Tyler and Good, Director Bill Maddox argued that the city should not take the account away from a private business (Altes). Not gaining support from the other directors on that point, Maddox then recommended the board vote to open the sanitation service for the 4,700 accounts to a broad competitive bidding process.

Not only did Maddox fail to gain support on that recommendation, but Directors Kevin Settle and Tyler argued that all city residents should receive the same quality of service now provided by the DOS.

“Unless there is some reason to go with private industry, I want Baridi (DOS) to have it,” Settle said.

Whatever the ultimate decision, City Administrator Dennis Kelly urged the board to act quickly because it will take 6 months to pursue a competitive bidding process and will take about 6 months for the DOS to gear up to handle the new service area.

“We need action from the board by the holiday break,” Kelly urged.