Red River reviews don't tell whole story

The city of Fort Wayne fined Red River Waste Solutions $65,000 earlier this week for missing several benchmarks.

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 11:05 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 8:28 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The city of Fort Wayne fined Red River Waste Solutions $65,000 earlier this week for missing several benchmarks.

Most of the fines stem from missed pick-ups, which is outlined in the contract agreement.

FOX 55 found Red River has a history of missing people's trash.

There are several reviews posted on social media sites complaining about trash left out from a couple years ago.

In fact the solid waste district in Williamson County, Tennessee, told FOX 55 Red River stopped servicing their county after several people complained about trash not being picked up.

However, Red River executives and city officials said there is more than what you read online.

"Just as anything else we provide in the city of Fort Wayne, we want to make sure we provide a good service," said Shan Gunawardena, Fort Wayne Public Works director.

The city awarded Red River the trash collection bid because they were the lowest, which is required by state law.

The city says it can't take online reviews into consideration when awarding bids, instead they hire a third party consultant.

"They looked at Red River, they reviewed their references, we called their references as well," said Gunawardena.

It's not all bad reviews. FOX 55 contacted the city of Nashville, which has contracted with Red River for several years.

They said they're so pleased, the contract has been extended.

"Everyone wants to be picked up on their scheduled day. Sometimes we get off schedule," said Steve Smith, Red River Vice President of Business Development.

Smith said the issues around Williamson County, Tennessee were partly because of a driver shortage, just like here in Fort Wayne.

"Strong economy, there's a lot of jobs to be had. We've upped our signing bonus we've got a retention bonus, we've got ton-age bonus, we've got a lot of incentives employers don't offer," he said.

Fort Wayne is working with the company to try to find good drivers.

"We have given them some ideas about what we have done at the street department in particular about hiring and training drivers to be CDL holders," said Gunawardena.

As part of the contract the city can fine if more than 1 person was skipped per 1000 customers

Red River isn't the first to be fined by the city.

Last year Republic Service, who had the contract for 20 years, was fined $96,700 for not picking up people's trash.

"The challenge is to make sure the complaints we get are legitimate complaints," Gunawardena.

Red River will update city council on the progress it has made in the last six months.

The meeting is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Citizens Square.

Meanwhile, if your trash is missed, call 3-1-1.

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