Update From City On Garbage & Recycling Collection

The City of Fort Wayne continues to experience delays with the collection of garbage and recycling materials.

There have been a number of positive COVID-19 cases with Red River drivers and City of Fort Wayne Street Department employees who assist with after-hours collections. This is resulting in slower collections and residents not getting materials collected on their scheduled day. Residents should continue to set out materials on the normal collection day. We’re working diligently to get as many materials collected as soon as possible. Currently, collections are a day and a half to two days behind. We anticipate those delays could last for the next few weeks. We continue to ask for patience from the public.

Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne Solid Waste Department understand and share the frustrations that residents and neighborhoods have over the collection process. Plans are being worked on to try to get the current challenges corrected in light of the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings involving Red River and the ongoing labor shortage. Efforts are also being made to get Indiana law changed that would enable the City to not have to take the lowest bid on future garbage and recycling contracts.

Data points:
-32% of Red River drivers are out sick
-Public Works and City Utilities staffing levels are down 20% due to illnesses, so we are having trouble supplementing with City staff to help on routes
-Other waste haulers are experiencing similar challenges with labor shortage and illnesses
-The City continues to help supplement Red River by having City staff make collections. We currently have two Solid Waste Department trucks running daily. One to two Street Department crews are running routes each night depending on worker availability. One to two Parks Department crews are running their garbage truck on select evenings depending on staff availability.

UPDATE: 02/01/22

The City of Fort Wayne Board of Public Works today approved a resolution that will allow for the City of Fort Wayne Solid Waste Department to seek bids for a new garbage and recycling hauler once an agreement between the City of Fort Wayne and Red River is reached in bankruptcy court.

Today’s action was a procedural matter that is a required step in the process of bidding out services and will assist the City in moving as quickly as possible to make improvements for ratepayers.

Progress continues to be made in the bankruptcy proceedings involving Red River. The City and Red River are working through the bankruptcy court to reach a final resolution that would have Red River continue services for the next 4-6 months while the City develops the bid specifications to ultimately hire a new contractor and have them on board this summer.

The Waynedale News Staff
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