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Fuel prices impacting smaller waste management districts in northern Arkansas

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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BERRYVILLE, Ark. (KY3) - With rapidly increasing fuel prices, the Carroll County Solid Waste District (CCSW) says it is drastically exceeding its monthly fuel budget.

In April, the waste management provider exceeded the monthly fuel budget by over $10,000. CCSW works with cities to implement a fuel surcharge dependent on monthly fuel expenses. It either becomes the city’s burden through a surcharge or the district would be forced to issue rate increases to customers.

“The last time the prices were up around this was around 2008, 2009, 2010,” said George Boatright, CCSW executive director. “The price of fuel is hurting us right now. With the price of fuel, we’re paying about $4.61/gallon.”

Data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show inflation may slow. Prices rose 8.3 percent in April compared with a year ago and 0.3 percent in March.

”It’s been a challenge, and we’ve been able to handle everything except the price of fuel,” said Berryville Mayor and CCSW Chairman Tim McKinney. ”We want to provide quality solid waste and recycling services at a reasonable price. So what this surcharge does is keeps us where we’re at and allows us to maintain the level of service we want to provide our customers.”

With current fuel prices, CCSW anticipates the average customer seeing about 60 cent increase in their bill.

”Well, I can understand why they’re doing it with our economy and gas prices,” said Sheila Taylor, who lives in the county. “But being on disability and a fixed income, I’d rather not have the extra surcharge.“

Taylor says you have no choice but to pay or expect “the garbage to pile up and cause more problems.”

”We’re a non-profit, but we need to keep up with the equipment and raises for the employees,” said Boatright. “But we do everything we can to keep our costs as low as possible.“

Once in effect, CCWS officials believe the surcharge is likely to stay.

”In the past, we’ve tried to budget for it, and some years, I’ll admit we’ve probably made money because we’ve budgeted lower,” said McKinney. “But just the volatility of it, I think this is something that’s here to stay.”

CCWS anticipates the surcharge next month, barring any unforeseen issues.

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