Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District

Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox has stopped a temporary 30-year $18 annual tax levied against property owners in the six-county Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District. The court-ordered tax has been collected since 2018 to pay off investors in the district's failed regional garbage dump, as well as the Arkansas Department of Environmental Qualilty to clean it up. Fred Woehl, Jr., OMSWD board chair and Boone County Justice of the Peace, provides insight. 

Courtesy / OMSWD

 

A temporary property tax collected in the six-county Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District has been declared illegal in five counties. So far, more than $2.3 million has been collected to pay back bondholders who invested over $12 million in a failed Baxter County landfill purchased by the waste district in 2005.

Courtesy / OMSWD

The Carroll County Circuit Court has ruled a temporary tax collection assessed on property owners is an illegal exaction, as well as unconstitutional. Matt Bishop of Bishop Law Firm in Fayetteville filed a lawsuit in 2018 challenging the tax, levied in five other north Arkansas counties. The money is being collected under court order, to reimburse bondholders who invested over $12 million dollars in a failed Baxter County landfill purchased by Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District in 2005.

J. Froelich / KUAF

Without public notice, more than 72,600 property owners in Carroll, Newton, Boone, Baxter, Searcy and Marion counties were assessed an additional property tax fee this spring. The new fee is intended to pay the debt and closure costs for a regional landfill in Baxter County abandoned several years ago by members of the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District. A series of hastily called hearings, hosted by state legislators and district lawyers, was held this week to address the court-ordered fee.

courtesy

Twelve years ago, Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District, which includes Baxter, Marion, Searcy, Boone, Newton and Carroll Counties secured revenue bonds to purchase an old landfill and garbage hauling service in rural Baxter County. The waste district’s goal was to improve the facility to centralize waste management operations and make money on outside trash contracts.But cleaning up the dump proved too costly and the venture failed.