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City updates garbage collection efforts

August 21, 2018

Fort Wayne officials and contractor Red River are exploring using CDL-trained drivers employed by the city to help when needed with garbage collection, one of several initiatives outlined today in response to steady complaints. 

The assistance from city employees would be outside of regular city business hours and at the expense of Red River, Mayor Tom Henry announced during an early afternoon press conference. 

The mayor also said Red River is: 

* Analyzing route and collection data in efforts to enhance efficiencies. 

* Partnering with Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast and Northeast Indiana Works to grow the candidate pool of potential employees through recruitment and training efforts. 

* Exploring partnering with area vendors to assist with collection efforts until the company is at full-staff. 

“We expect more and are demanding more from Red River,” Henry said, in a prepared statement. 

“We’re focused on and committed to ensuring Red River provides the best and most reliable services possible. I understand the frustration that many people are feeling right now,” he said. “Meeting the basic needs of our residents and neighborhoods is critical to Fort Wayne’s success. We’re going to make this right. By working together, we can make a meaningful difference and restore the public’s trust in the garbage and recycling process in our city.” 

City administration today also indicated it will not pursue a declaration of material default at this time against Red River. The city doesn’t believe the contractor has met the threshold for a material default. 

Past examples from other jurisdictions have shown that numerous factors may determine how material defaults occur. Examples have included a provider abandoning the duties of collecting any materials and not meeting payroll to name a few. 

City Council has introduced a non-binding resolution that states Red River is in substantial breach and/or material default of its contract with the City. The resolution doesn’t result in formal action being taken by the Council, according to a news release, but is a statement of the view of the situation “only by those members who sign the resolution.” 

To find a company in material default isn’t a one-step or simple process. Several factors that would have to be analyzed. A default designation could have the potential to lead to legal fees being incurred by the City and increased costs to customers through a different collection contractor. A court would likely determine if a material default has occurred. 

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette after 1 a.m.

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