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UPDATED: Councilman Jehl lays out action play to address Red River issues

(Photo Supplied/Red River Waste Solutions)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Fort Wayne City Councilman Russ Jehl laid out four action steps Friday in response to Red River Waste Solutions’ trash collection problems.

Jehl proposed these four action steps:

  • Level with the Public: More than a month has passed since the Administration has given a substantive update on the garbage service issue.  The public needs hope that cannot come from a press release.  Does the Administration intend to make a switch in its service provider?
  • Immediately hire an emergency provider: The City Administration should activate the emergency services clause in the garbage services contract and utilize a 3rd party provider to reduce the misses and be retained indefinitely.  Complacently allowing garbage to pile up around town is simply not necessary.
  • Proactively reach out to Red River’s workers to stay: With Red River’s bankruptcy and public relations issues, they will almost certainly continue to lose drivers.  The Solid Waste Department should proactively lead in recruiting and retaining the current Red River drivers, appreciating their experience and value.  The drivers alone will get the Ratepayer through this present emergency and a future transition.
  • Create a real miss list: Solid Waste should create an effective “miss list” plan to identify and collect missed areas, that extends beyond overwhelming 311 with calls. Solid Waste, not Red River, is ultimately responsible for ensuring miss cycles and miss patterns do not occur.

“The remedies available to us may be limited by the bankruptcy courts, but we need to be using every one we do have,” Said Jehl. “This has been the problem since the beginning of the contract – not using the tools that are available to fix the problem and instead asking for prolonged patience from the residents.”

RELATED: City working on resolution to seek a request for proposal for solid waste services

However, city officials are already working on changing the Indiana law that requires cities to take the lowest competitive bid on garbage and recycling contracts. House Bill 1286 will have a hearing in the House Local Government Committee on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

City officials say that a status conference was held for Red River on Thursday. An update is expected at Tuesday night’s council meeting. That meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18, will be at 5:30 p.m. at Citizens Square, Room 035.

Also, city officials say hiring an emergency provider is easier said than done, with attempts to do so over the past weeks and months. City staff are helping Red River by making collections as trash and recycling services are running a day and a half to two days behind.

City Administration says they provided recent updates on Dec. 24 and Jan. 11 to the public, media and city council regarding Jehl’s point. Also, city officials add regarding point two of Jehl’s plan that the Solid Waste Department is in daily communication with local Red River drivers.

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