Altes Sanitation to lose residential contract in Fort Smith

The Fort Smith Department of Sanitation will gear up to provide trash service to about 4,700 households in south Fort Smith who now have their trash picked up by Altes Sanitation.

With a 5-2 vote, the Fort Smith Board of Directors ended on Tuesday (Nov. 3) the lengthy and sometimes controversial debate as to who will provide sanitation service to about 4,700 households in south Fort Smith. Presently, Altes is the only third-party trash service handling residential waste in Fort Smith, with the DOS handling 82%, or the other 20,820 accounts

The contract with Altes ends June 30, 2010, and by law the city has two broad options: it can hand the service to the Fort Smith DOS; or the city could open the contract for a open bid by all trash haulers interested in the large account.

The Fort Smith DOS and several city directors have said the want all citizens to have access to the more modern trash pick up service provided by the Fort Smith DOS. Also, the Fort Smith DOS is able to pick up all collections — recycle, regular trash, and yard trash — on one day with one automated truck. The primary benefit of this is that citizens only have to remember one day on which to set out trash.

To reject Altes Sanitation is unfair, especially following an early 2007 survey of the citizens in the area in which 81.7% said they were satisfied with Altes, according to Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen

“It’s the will of the people. The people have spoken,” McCutchen said of the 2007 survey, adding that now the city has changed the argument to push the case that citizens need consistent service.

McCutchen said the Altes family has felt “ambushed” by the city in this process.

City Director Bill Maddox said the city should not be “taking over private enterprise,” adding that Altes has bought new equipment and can provide the same quality of service as the Fort Smith DOS.

“I think this is greed on the city’s part,” Maddox said. “I just cannot accept that the city is going to destroy a portion of the private enterprise.”

Maddox moved to table the vote for 30 days, with City Director Don Hutchings seconding. However, the vote failed on a 5-2 vote, with only Maddox and Hutchings in favor.

City Directors Gary Campbell, Cole Goodman and Kevin Settle then made the point that the city’s decision was not about Altes, but was about the city’s legal options at the end of the contract. City Attorney Jerry Canfield said the law is clear that the contract has to be put up for open bid and does not automatically go to Altes.

City Director Steven Tyler moved to adopt a resolution “directing that the city of Fort Smith Department of Sanitation provide residential solid waste services to the entire city.” City Director Andre Good seconded. The motion was approved 5-2, with Hutchings and Maddox voting no.


McCutchen told The City Wire that Altes may consider legal action against the city.

“We’re going to be looking at it closely,” he said, noting that a decision would be made by the first of the year.

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May I please have the home phone numbers....

of EACH city director who voted against Altes Sanitation posted on The City Wire. I'm going to ask that each of my Fianna Hills neighbors join me in calling them every time FS Sanitation fails to meet our expectations. I'll expect to see the "city boys" working on holidays, literally running to keep up with their truck, and NEVER, EVER, EVER missing a pick-up from my house in the next 10 years I live here - since I can't recall ANYTIME that Altes has failed to serve me in the last 10 years I've lived here. Anyone else wonder how soon the "we need more equipment" requests (IE we need more $$$) will start showing up from the sanitation department? Here's the bottom line: You can raise my taxes on the burgers I eat out, you can reinstate the business licensing cost that was "guranteed eliminated" to the corporate organizations before I elected moved my company to our town, but now that you've decided to SCREW with my personal garbage service I AM ONE ANGRY ARKIE!

One Angry Arkie

Do you think that maybe you should have asked each of your Fianna Hills neighbors to join you in calling the directors BEFORE they voted? By the way, here are the phone numbers...

Sanitation decision

I contacted the directors before they voted. In fact I’ve been contacting them for many of the almost 12 years that I’ve lived in the neighborhood served by Altes Sanitation. I’ve also been calling Lucy Altes at Altes Sanitation and Baridi Nkokheli at the Fort Smith Department of Sanitation. Before Nkokheli came, I was calling Dan Riekes. I appreciate the many hours of study and discussion that all seven city directors and gave this, and I appreciate the vote.


Well nobody will be running behind the trucks because it's automated. Only a driver. You might as well call now since they take holidays off. I know it's a huge deal to take the trash out a day early or day late. Such a hard life these directors have made for you. I've lived here for 6 years and City's Sanitation has never missed my trash, dropped any trash or failed in anyway. Matter of fact you can call (I think 4 times) per year and have them come to your house, pick up anything and take it to the city dump. For no additional cost. You'll also be able to recycle and actually know your waste is indeed being recycled. And if the department needs new equipment they will be able to pay for it with the funds they are now collecting from the newly services area. This is a no-brainer. The department can easier integrate the area into their existing routes, provide better service to residents and better utilize the monthly fees citizens pay for sanitation service.

Altes Service Sucked

I've lived in the Fianna Hills area for 5 years and have never been pleased with the service. Several times they have completely skipped my street and others and didn't even come the next day to pick it up. I witnessed their employees throwing my can in to the middle of my yard after complaining about the service. If you don't want the city service, you're probably a friend of the Altes family or just want something to gripe about.

Loss for words

Anon in Fianna Hills, you seem to be at a loss for words, "Altes Service......What"?

Mixed feelings

I have mixed feeling about my service. I moved into Fort Smith from California some 15 years ago and were I lived back then in California we had the large bins that had the special design so that the trucks could live up the bins to dump them into the trucks. When I moved out here I did notice the lack thereof of the newer tech that the sanitation system had. When I had first heard about the new bins coming I thought that we would finally upgrade and that sooner or later I found find a bin for my use in my front yard or something but it never happened while I did see it across a good portion of the city of Fort Smith. That's when I found out that we were being serviced by a different, third party, service that didn't use this newer tech, Altus. While I have had some instances of some trash left on my yard, it's been rare, and one of the interesting things that I like is that even if it's memorial day and the rest of the city is off, they still run pickup duty. I think Altus has been doing a great job and provide a great service and I can only hope that whoever the next caretakers of our waste in my neighborhood provide at the least the same level that Altus has been providing, as it would be a shame to find that the next company is a downgrade. mixed and concerned.