MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR

The overwhelming success of our new garbage and recycling program has done more than just enhance our city’s resolve to be environmentally-friendly. The program has been so successful that I have asked that garbage rates be lowered by $1 million — making this the second rate decrease in less than a year. Last year, we lowered rates by about $250,000.

Under the rate decrease, which was approved by the Board of Works on August 3, the typical monthly fee for single-family homes will drop from $11 to $9.95 and the fee for multifamily homes will drop from $22 to 19.90. I expect the City Council to approve the rate reduction by the end of August.

Additionally, on August 4, we announced that surplus funds in the City’s solid-waste account will be used for an early payoff of its garbage-cart lease. By paying ahead of schedule and erasing the debt, the City will save approximately $100,000 in future interest payments.
In these tough economic times I am thrilled that we are able to reduce rates and I thank all of you who are participating in the recycling program.

We launched our recycling program in January, replacing the brown containers and yellow bins with a one cart recycling system. Our goal was to start an initiative that would enable our city to be more environmentally responsible, as well as fiscally responsible. This program is a prime example of how the City is doing more with less; we’re using innovative methods to increase our efficiency, reduce costs and maximize savings for residents.

Our recycling program has been successful for several reasons. First, we’ve seen a rapidly-growing interest in residents who want to recycle; initial estimates pegged our recycling participation rate at 34 percent. Today we have a participation rate of 68 percent, and growing.

Second, increased recycling has reduced the amount of garbage going into the landfill, which results in lower landfill usage fees for the City. In 2010, Fort Wayne residents dumped more than 94,000 tons of garbage into the landfill. This year we predict that will decrease by about 4,000 tons. So, we know that our recycling program will help extend the life of the landfill.

Third, our new recycling contract calls for a 50/50 split on revenue generated from recycling. It’s the first time in the City’s history that we’ve had a contract that we get some of the revenue. Because residents are participating, that revenue is helping us decrease rates. I think we can continue to grow this – as more and more of you participate in the one cart recycling program.

In the meantime, we are continuing to educate residents about the importance of recycling. Our Solid Waste Management department has visited about 20 elementary schools in the Fort Wayne area and we plan to distribute mailers to homes that do not participate in our recycling program. We will also send out mailers reminding residents which items should or should not be placed in recycling carts.

I have no doubt that this recycling program will continue to be great for the City and I encourage each and every one of you to recycle if you are not already.

For more information, call 311 or go to www.recyclefortwayne.org.

Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column.

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Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne’s Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the “Message from the Mayor” column.

> Read Full Biography
> More Articles Written By This Writer