Mayor Tom Henry today announced an initiative designed to enhance garbage and recycling collection services in the City of Fort Wayne. Beginning Monday, July 1, several employees of the City of Fort Wayne’s Street Department will work on their off-hours to collect garbage and recycling misses that exceed 24 hours from the time a miss is reported.
The current garbage and recycling contract considers a miss as viable after 24 hours has elapsed from the day of the scheduled collection. For example, if a resident’s garbage is supposed to be collected on Monday, Red River Waste Solutions, the City’s garbage and recycling collection contractor, has until the end of the following business day to collect the materials. If the materials aren’t collected by that following business day, the City’s plan will go into effect. Residents are urged to continue to call 311 to report the misses, which will assist the activation process of the new plan.
Compensation for the employees and equipment used to collect materials will be paid for by fines the City collects from Red River. Fines are assessed if certain benchmarks outlined in the garbage and recycling contract are not met.
Mayor Henry was joined at today’s announcement by leaders with the City of Fort Wayne’s Public Works Division, the City of Fort Wayne’s Solid Waste Department and the Mayor’s Working Group on Garbage and Recycling comprised of neighborhood leaders, two City Council members and City staff. For the past several weeks, the Working Group has been engaged in new discussions and planning on how to best ensure materials are collected. The Working Group was established in 2018.
Last fall, new routes went into effect to help lessen the likelihood of misses. Red River currently makes 120,000 collections each week. For the past several months, Red River has missed between 1 to 2 percent of households each week.
“It’s the City’s duty to ensure the best services possible are being provided to our garbage and recycling customers and look for proactive solutions aimed at quality assurance,” said Mayor Henry. “We recognize a number of customers have experienced challenges and we’re taking action again because our residents deserve the best, and we demand a higher standard of performance from Red River. We want all residents to know that we’re committed to meeting the needs of the community.”
City leaders today explained a cancellation of the current contract would probably result in:
1) lengthy collection delays (4-6 weeks)
2) a possible lawsuit
3) the need to re-bid the contract, which would take a number of months to process and implement and likely lead to higher collection fees for customers
State of Indiana law requires that contracts for services such as garbage and recycling collection must be awarded to the lowest and most responsible and responsive bidder, which was Red River.
As a reminder to residents, City offices will be closed on Thursday, July 4 in recognition of the Fourth of July. There will be no residential garbage and recycling collection on Thursday, July 4.
Regular Thursday collection will be collected on Friday, July 5 and regular Friday collection will occur on Saturday, July 6.