Fort Wayne, Indiana wants answers — and $65K for Red River collection issues
- Last week, officials in Fort Wayne, Indiana called out Red River Waste Solutions for missed collections at hundreds of households during April and May. Based on these issues, the city is fining Red River $65,000.
- Red River's $5 million contract states that it may only miss one in 1,000 pickups or it will incur a fine of $100 per household. The city may levy an additional fine of $50 per occurrence if the mistake is not corrected by 5 p.m. the next day. Fines can also be issued for missing an entire street, or a house more than twice, during a three-month period.
- In a statement to The Journal Gazette, the Fort Wayne City Council said it was willing to accept a "brief learning curve" since the contract began in January, but that time had passed. "With the exception of a short reprieve in the spring, the service has not gotten better, it's steadily gotten worse ... It's actually quite baffling." A council hearing on the topic has been scheduled for the evening of June 19.
Republic Services had serviced Fort Wayne for 20 years — and received its own $98,000 fine last year — but lost out to Red River for the new contract based on pricing. The Texas company came in lower than four other companies — Republic, Advanced Disposal Services, FCC and Borden Waste-Away Service.
Red River has been on a push to expand its footprint, acquiring Tennessee's S & K Disposal in 2016 and Planet Green in 2015. While it has been successful in undercutting bids for contracts such as this one, other municipalities have reported problems with service. In January 2017, the company failed to meet its collection obligations in Nashville, Tennessee, citing weather and increased holiday trash volume as the cause.
In 2016, Jackson, Tennessee chose Waste Management over Red River despite the latter company bidding $3.2 million less. The city council expressed concern that the company would be able to perform and said the lower fees seemed unrealistic.
Such collection issues have resulted in other companies losing contracts during recent years, though so far Fort Wayne appears to be sticking with Red River. In his own statement, Mayor Tom Henry said that while "We expect better results from Red River ... No provider is perfect, and it’s appropriate for us to allow them additional time to perform their duties.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Fort Wayne's location as Ohio.
- The Journal Gazette Council seeks answers for trash pickup
- City of Fort Wayne Update and Joint Statement from Mayor Henry and City Council