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Proposed Garbage Measure Falls Short At Council

Red River Waste Solutions

A non-binding resolution proposed by Republican councilmen Jason Arp and Paul Ensley seeking a return to “market-based garbage collection” in Fort Wayne failed during City Council’s meeting Tuesday night.

Arp -- who also served on the Mayor’s working group on garbage and recycling -- proposed the resolution with Ensley in August to highlight an array of difficulties since the contract with Red River Waste Solutions took effect in 2018.


He says Fort Wayne operated in good faith within the state’s legal framework, but added that Red River currently has a “monopoly” on local trash collection because of it.

Arp concluded that “competition and freedom of choice of contractor, level of service, and price would allow the market forces to come to equilibrium efficiently.” Essentially, Arp said residents should have the freedom to select their own garbage collection.

The resolution failed on a 6-3 vote. While supporters touted the bill’s market-based and “outside-the-box” approach to seeking solutions to an ongoing problem, opponents expressed concern that the measure was half-baked and ineffective.

Didier -- who also served on the working group with Arp -- opposed the measure. He said he liked the idea of making sure Red River paid the fines imposed against it for missed and late pickups, but not much else.

“It would definitely would have helped with the cost factors on this but for me, there are too many pieces of the puzzle missing so I’ll have to vote no,” Didier said.

Second district Councilman Russ Jehl also opposed the measure, stating that garbage collection is an essential service local governments should provide, and said the existence of a debate to end service entirely highlights the failures of Red River and the mayor’s Office.


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.