Attorney General rules Holiday Island cannot mandate solid waste disposal

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Arkansas State Attorney General Mike Beebe has come back with an opinion that the Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District (HISID) cannot establish a solid waste collection system or contract for the service.

In response to an inquiry as to the status of the attorney general's opinion on this matter, HISID furnished a copy of a letter from the attorney general's office, dated Jan. 13, 2005, to State Rep. Phil Jackson.

Beebe stated, "It is my opinion that the establishment of a solid waste collection and disposal system or service is outside the purpose(s) for which a suburban improvement district may be formed."

ACA 14-19-201 established those purposes, which include improvements such as "waterworks systems, sewage systems and facilities, streets and highways, recreational facilities, sidewalks, gas pipelines, telephone lines, rural fire departments, hospitals and ambulance services, and libraries."

He went on to cite several legal challenges in other communities with SIDs, such as Cherokee Village, Ark.

According to Beebe, such challenges have delineated the difference between "sewage systems and facilities" and "solid waste," even though the latter term is used in addressing sewage systems.

"...This clearly is with reference to waste that is collected and disposed through sewers," Beebe wrote, "which ordinarily is distinguished from waste in the form of trash that is collected and disposed of through a solid waste management system."

Beebe's opinion will be welcome news to many property owners who opposed the district contracting with a solid waste hauler and charging a standard monthly fee.

Under the current system, property owners are free to choose their solid waste hauler and pay the best rate they can find.

The district entertained the question last year because of complaints of people using district dumpsters or private dumpsters to dispose of their trash.

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