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Off-Hours Fort Wayne Street Department Staff To Assist With Missed Garbage Collection

City of Fort Wayne

The City of Fort Wayne has unveiled a new plan for responding to missed pickups by the city’s garbage collection firm, Red River.

While Red River’s performance was the subject of much discussion around Fort Wayne in 2018, pickup totals have improved since routes were changed on November 5. However, Red River is still missing 1-2% of pickups, which continues to present an issue around the city as temperatures warm and creatures are more prevalent.

As of now, if Red River misses a pickup, they have 24 hours to collect it before it gets counted as a “miss.” Starting July 1, employees in the city’s street department will work in their off hours to collect any garbage after that 24-hour threshold.

These staffers will be paid through fines that have been applied toward Red River over the last 18 months for late or outright missed pickups.

While several members of Fort Wayne City Council have expressed a desire to explore terminating Red River’s contract entirely, Mayor Tom Henry says that wouldn’t be a wise or practical decision for the city to make.

“Undoubtedly there would be lengthy collection delays. There would also probably be a potential lawsuit filed by the vendor. And finally, even if it’s successful, we would have to re-bid the contract, which would take a number of months and undoubtedly result in higher fees for our citizens,” Henry said.

2nd District Republican councilman Russ Jehl has long lobbied the mayor’s office for a plan regarding Red River’s performance. In a statement, Jehl says he is “grateful the Mayor has taken the clothespin off his nose. The garbage issue cannot be fixed without his engagement.”

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.
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