Mayor Tom Henry and City Councilmen Jason Arp, Tom Freistroffer, Glynn Hines, and Geoff Paddock today provided an update on residential garbage and recycling collection efforts in the City of Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne’s new garbage and recycling contractor, Red River Waste Solutions, began providing services on January 2. The City and Red River recognize there have been some issues and are working each day to address concerns. We apologize for any challenges that residents have experienced. It’s not uncommon, though, for there to be an adjustment period for any new provider.
“We’re committed to providing excellent services to residents,” said Mayor Henry. “We expect better results from Red River. My staff and I, along with City Council, are adamant that improvements need to be made to ensure garbage and recycling collection procedures and outcomes meet the needs and expectations of our residents and neighborhoods. Though we recognize that challenges are to be expected with a new provider, Red River has assured us that they’re prepared and ready to enhance their daily operations. I’m optimistic that they’re up to the task. Over the past six months, my office has heard from residents complimentary of the work that Red River is doing as well as from those expressing concerns. No provider is perfect, and it’s appropriate for us to allow them additional time to perform their duties.”
Speaking pointedly, Council President Freistroffer said, “City Council is very disappointed with repetitive resident complaints regarding Red River’s continued mishaps on garbage and recycling collection. The vote at Council was focused on saving the taxpayers money, in taking the lowest bid and providing the best service to the City of Fort Wayne.”
The City’s Solid Waste Department oversees the contract and is in daily communication with Red River and regular communication with neighborhood partnerships and associations and elected officials. The department will continue proactive outreach to residents and neighborhoods and is committed to providing the best services possible to the public. In addition, 311 has been in daily communication with the department about residents’ reports of service concerns.
The City has fined Red River for not meeting certain benchmarks as outlined in the garbage and recycling contract. A $15,000 fine was assessed in April, and an additional fine of more than $50,000 will be assessed for May. The fine structure is similar to fines that were assessed to the previous garbage and recycling collection provider for the City.
Garbage and recycling contractors across the country are experiencing a shortage of drivers who are eligible and interested in employment. Red River is leading proactive efforts to attract and retain the best talent possible to provide services in Fort Wayne.
Prior to the bid process, community focus groups provided input on residents’ expectations of garbage collection, which helped formulate the bid solicitation. The City received bids from five companies for the garbage and recycling collection contract, the highest of which was $9.61 million, and the lowest of which was $6.96 million from Red River. The City Administration, Solid Waste Department, and representatives from City Council then reviewed Red River’s submission to ascertain responsiveness. Indiana state law requires the contract to be awarded to the lowest and most responsive bidder, which was Red River. The Board of Public Works and City Council unanimously approved the contract with Red River.
Residents are reminded to have garbage and recycling bins set out the night before their collection day as crews collect garbage and recycling anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Even though residents may have become accustomed to having materials collected at a certain time, it’s important to have everything set out the night before to ensure garbage and recycling materials are collected, as the contractor may be arriving at a different time.
Questions and concerns about missed pickups can be addressed by calling 311. Residents may also visit www.cityoffortwayne.org and click on the 311 icon to download the 311 mobile app and submit a concern.