Searcy’s monthly sanitation charges appear to be among the highest compared to other cities in White County and in the surrounding area.
The Daily Citizen checked with other municipalities concerning their rates after Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne said concerning sanitation needs in the city’s outline for making the 1-percent sales and use tax permanent that the city’s rate is “below average.”
“We pride ourselves on providing quality sanitation services at below-average cost to our citizens,” Osborne said for an article published Tuesday.
An attempt to reach Osborne for comment on the comparison was unsuccessful.
The city’s monthly charge for trash pickup is $18 plus tax, according to City Hall, and Lillie Cook, assistant to the mayor, said there is no extra charge for leaf and limb pickup. The city also provides recycling services and a trash bin as part of the cost. In White County, Beebe, Bradford, Higginson, Judsonia, Kensett and Pangburn charge a lower rate, while Bald Knob charges more when extra services are factored in.
Searcy changed its rates at the beginning of 2020, with the City Council voting the previous November to add $2 to the residential garbage service charge. It was the first increase since 2013. (The commercial rate was increased from $30 to $35.)
The reason given for the rate increase was because the development districts the city uses to dispose of the city’s trash, the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District and White River Planning and Development District, had each raised its rate by $1 per ton.
Bald Knob Mayor Barth Grayson said his city’s monthly charge for trash pickup is $13.12. However, he said there is a $5 solid waste charge that residents also pay. If, for example, a landlord had to clean out a place after a renter left, Grayson said there would be a charge of “like an extra 50 bucks” to pick up all of their stuff that was left out in front of the residence.
Beebe Mayor Mike Robertson said trash pickup is $14 per month plus tax and includes recycling and leaf and limb pickup. The city contracts its sanitation services with Green Environmental Services of Arkansas, which provides a trash bin as part of the services.
Higginson contracts trash pickup through Heavenly Trash and a representative, Crystal Thompson, said if Higginson customers use a trash receptacle they bought themselves, the charge is $14 plus tax. If the customer needs a trash can from Heavenly Trash, there would be a charge of either $3 or $5 per month depending on the size of the can. If a customer had an extra large amount of trash, it would be handled by using a “roll-off dumpster” at $325 for two days or $400 for seven days of use.
Kensett water and sewer clerk Angel Wells said the monthly charge for trash pickup is $15 plus $1.47 for tax. “On my garbage people only, after tax it comes to $16.47, and that’s all we charge a month and that covers leaves, sticks,” Wells said. “We do a miscellaneous pickup every third Monday and pickup pretty much anything.”
In Judsonia city limits, the residential garbage rate is $14 and out of the city limits, it is $16. The charges are found on the monthly water bill.
Pangburn Mayor Michael Marsh said residents pay $13.18 for monthly garbage pickup and there is not an extra fee for leaf and limbs.
Bradford reportedly charges $15 for trash pickup, but does not pick up leaf and limb pickup.
Rose Bud does not offer trash pickup service so residents make their own choice about what service they want to use. Some residents use Waste Management out of Heber Springs, others use B-C Sanitation out of Searcy or Heavenly Trash.
Among nearby cities, Cabot, Conway and Heber Springs each charge more than $17 for sanitation services.
Cabot residents are charged $17.95 monthly for trash pickup, recycle and yard waste. Conway residents are charged $17 plus $1.56 tax. The sanitation website has information about bulk pickups.
In Heber Springs, residents pay $17.50 for monthly garbage pickup. Leaves and limbs are also included, but if an excessive amount needs to be picked up, there is an added charge.
Other cities checked include Jacksonville, which has a monthly rate of $15.50 for residential garbage pickup, and Batesville, whose residents pay $14.29 plus tax per month.
Vilonia does not offer a city service, so residents have to decide which company to use. A couple of services that residents use include TBF Sanitation, which charges $23 per month, and Waste Management, which charges $47 per month.
Information on the rates was primarily provided by city sanitation offices and mayor’s offices.