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City council express frustrations over trash collection

Red River executives said residents should notice a difference in service by the end of the month.

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 10:55 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - City council spent more than hour talking about the trash in the city during Tuesday night's meeting, specifically asking Red River Waste Solutions what is being done to address complaints.

Company executives said residents should notice a difference in service by the end of the month.

This was the second time in six months Red River addressed city council since beginning the contract with the city in January.

"Everyone thinks the service is really, really bad and the trust is gone. The people of fort wayne do not trust this service now," said councilman John Crawford.

Red River Vice President of Business Development, Steve Smith, said they are begining to earn that trust.

"We've seen a rapid increase in service and a decrease in calls," said Smith.

Smith told reporters they were getting 300 complaints a day, and now are getting around 100.

That's because in recent weeks, the company put in a new management team, added technology to the trucks, and hired more people to drive and help collec trash.

"For the most part our staffing and hiring up drivers and hiring up helpers and service techs is the answer to that and we've been doing that," Smith said

Smith told council members they never experienced a transition as rough as the one in Fort Wayne. He said they had an issue hiring drivers because only about 30 percent of drivers from Republic applied for Red River. Smith was expecting closer to 70 percent.

However, he added every route is now covered and a couple routes have been added.

Still, Crawford wants them to do more.

"We want a dashboard, like a report how it is now and tell us how it is getting better or not getting better," he said.

The city started fining Red River for missed pick-ups in April.

So far that fine is $65,000 and it will go into the Solid Waste Fund.

Councilman Russ Jehl, who's trash was missed two weeks ago said he would like to see that money go somewhere else.

"The are receiving full payment from the rate payers and the rate payers are not receiving the service. They had the opportunity to give a rebate and they declined to do so," he said.

Many people across Fort Wayne have said when they put trash in old containers from National ServAll, those cans are also taken.

City leaders said that's because it is causing confusion between Republic Services and Red River drivers.

Republic has told the city they want all old residential cans disposed of. Commercial customers who contract with Republic are still able to use the old ServAll cans.

If your trash isn't picked up on your scheduled day, you're asked to call 3-1-1.

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