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Trash rebate could give ratepayers one-month credit

November 13, 2018

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and at least one city council member are on the same page when it comes to securing a possible rebate for the city’s trash collection ratepayers. 

“I’ve been talking about that since June,” Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, said in an interview Monday. “We’re approaching the end of the year and for 10 months we’ve had terrible service. Ratepayers have been paying full fare, but not getting the full service they deserve.” 

Jehl said he introduced a non-binding resolution to city council on Thursday which, if approved, would lend council support to a proposed one-month credit on each ratepayer’s bill. That amounts to about 960,000.

The funds for the credit would come out of fines collected from Red River. 

Red River took over the city’s garbage collection contract in January from Republic Services, which held the contract for 20 years. Almost immediately, residents began to experience problems with missed collections, something that has been blamed on inclement weather, confusing route maps and a shortage of drivers who hold commercial drivers licenses.

In an effort to reduce missed collections and alleviate ratepayer concerns, city officials revamped the collection map. New collection days started Nov. 5. 

Mayor Tom Henry announced his support for a ratepayer credit Thursday afternoon. 

If the city believes there aren’t enough funds to pay for a one-month credit for every ratepayer household, Jehl said, there is a provision in the resolution that encourages the city to ask Red River to pay the remaining balance. 

“Ratepayers have been more than patient. If there isn’t enough in the fine account to give a full credit for the month, this gives Red River the opportunity to purchase goodwill from the ratepayers,” Jehl said.

According to a performance dashboard on the city of Fort Wayne website, Red River was fined $294,200 for missed recycling and garbage collections from April to July. The firm was not charged for misses that occurred from January through March.

The city’s website has not yet been updated with fines from August, September and October. However, Red River missed 4,840 homes in August, an increase of 2,777 homes from the month before.

dgong@jg.net

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