The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 14, 2022 1:04 pm

Councilman asks Fort Wayne to hire emergency trash-collection provider

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne city councilman asked the city Friday to hire an emergency trash collection service provider to address ongoing issues with Red River Waste Solutions.

The request was among four action points Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, presented at a morning news conference. Jehl wants the action points to be included in a public update during the next council meeting Tuesday.

Red River took over the city's trash and recycling collection services at the start of 2018, and the service has been poor throughout the contract, Jehl said. Texas-based Red River filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

The city announced Tuesday that Red River trash pickups are running about two days behind because a third of its drivers are out sick. Jehl later asked publicly for an update on the city's plan for the ongoing issues at the next council meeting.

Jehl on Friday shared specific action points he wants from the city, which includes giving a substantive update to the public, proactively reaching out to encourage Red River's workers to stay and creating an accurate list of missed pickups.

His largest request is to immediately hire a trash collection services provider by activating the emergency services clause in Red River's contract. That would allow a third-party provider to reduce the number of missed collections, and that provider could be retained indefinitely.

"That, in the contract, is basically a blank check for the city," Jehl said. "We can keep track of all of the costs associated with bringing in a third party and we can entirely deduct 100% of those costs performed to Red River. There is absolutely no excuse, in any way, shape or form, for garbage to be sitting at the curb for any more than a week."

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