JPs OK plan to increase trash rates

HOT SPRINGS -- The Garland County Quorum Court approved a $1-a-month increase in garbage rates at its Nov. 27 meeting, the second part of the $3.50 hike the county plans to adopt before it puts its waste collection contract out for bid in 2026.

Rates will increase to $19 a month, effective Jan. 1. Another $1 increase is planned for 2025. Before the $1.50 increase that took effect this January, the rate had been $16.50 since 2013.

County Judge Darryl Mahoney said incremental increases will help customers budget for the larger increase the county could have to pay when its current agreement for residential collection with Town and County Sanitation expires at the end of 2026.

The $9.45 bid per cart the Royal company submitted for countywide collection in 2019 included annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index, raising the cost 25% compared to when the agreement took effect in January 2020. The county absorbed the increases in the first three years of the seven-year contract but began passing some of it on to customers through the $1.50 increase in January.