FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne hired a local advertising firm to help promote its curbside recycling program.
The Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a $70,000 contract with Asher Agency to provide promotional services for the city recycling program.
Kira Blacketor, the solid waste program manager, said the firm was selected to target areas with low participation.
While more than 70 percent of households across the city signed up for the new recycling bin, there are pockets of town with lower participation rates. A Journal Gazette analysis of participation in January found some southeast sectors lagged well behind the rest of the city.
Mary Jane Slaton, city spokeswoman, said the first step in the contract is to help the city develop a strategy to increase recycling for those struggling areas. That strategy would include creating messages and recommending communication methods.
This year, he city spent $345,000 to purchase more recycling carts to keep up with the demand. Mayor Tom Henry has set a goal to raise the participation rate to 80 percent by the end of the year.
The citys recycling and garbage contracts with National Serv-All each require the company to pay the city $50,000 annually for public education. That revenue will finance the advertising contract, which includes up to three one-year extensions for $90,000 each.
The city used that money previously for postcards and advertising to alert residents about the program, which replaced the two-bin system with a single large cart.
Residents interested in signing up for the program should call 311.
The Board of Works learned that a project to repair about 1,200 feet of levee along Edgewater Avenue just west of the Tecumseh Street bridge has hit a snag. The board received three bids for the work, but all came in significantly higher than expected.
The lowest received price was $813,051.50, more than 30 percent higher than the citys estimate. Bob Kennedy, director of public works, said he was unsure what the higher price would mean for the project, but acknowledged it might simply have to be paid.
The city asked the City Council to approve the budget for the work to help expedite the project, a highly unusual procedural step. The work must be finished by the end of the year to meet requirements from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.