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City street dept. workers chip in to help cut down on Red River missed trash pickups

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – For residents riled about trash collection problems, help may be on the way.

Mayor Tom Henry is unveiling a new plan to try and get garbage picked up on time.

It involves recruiting some city employees to work overtime, to pick up the trash that Red River Waste Solutions misses.

Since Red River took over the city’s garbage collection contract, resident complaints about poor service have poured in like water running in a stream.

Collection routes were re-configured last fall to try and help cut down on missed pickups,

In 2019, city officials say of the roughly 120,000 scheduled pickups each week, Red River on average is missing 1 to 2 percent of households.

“If you are one of the one to two percent on a regular basis, that is totally unacceptable,” Mayor Henry told reporters on Tuesday.

Henry says, starting July 1st, certain city street department workers with commercial drivers licenses will work overtime on their off hours to pickup garbage and recycling misses that exceed 24 hours from the time a miss is reported.

The Henry administration says the expense will be paid from fines assessed to Red River for failing to pick up the trash on schedule, insisting taxpayers won’t have to pick up the tab.

A committee the mayor put together to deal with trash headaches came up with this option, saying to fire Red River would heighten the risk of the city being sued by the company and having to bid the contract to another provider.

“I don’t want to go there, it’s going to cost the citizens a lot more money, their fees are going to go up,” said David Kohli, a member of the Mayor’s Working Group on Garbage and Recycling, a committee crafted to deal with trash collection headaches.

Residents are urged to continue to call 311 to report missed pickups, which will assist activation of the new plan.

City officials say they have about $300,000 in a fund that grew because of fines charged to Red River for past failings.

That money will also be available to pay street department workers who work overtime to get garbage picked up in a timely manner.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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