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Council members propose ‘market-based’ garbage collection for Fort Wayne’s long-term future

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – In a matter of years, there’s the prospect of city garbage customers getting to hire their own trash collection company.

Two city council members are pitching a plan that some critics are saying would cause more harm than good.

In the nearly 20 months since Red River Waste Solutions took over the city’s garbage contract, there’s been a lot of complaining about missed pickups and service generally not measuring up.

Connie Lonsberry says she often got frustrated with how the company performed.

“Then when they started, you know, fining them and stuff, they seemed to get on track, and we’ve been on track ever since. I’m okay with that, as long as they stay on track,” Lonsberry said.

Republican city council members Jason Arp and Paul Ensley believe the company is still not getting the job done.

They are proposing a resolution to crackdown hard on Red River’s shortcomings with prescribed fines to the fullest extent, and they want to set out that if for any reason the contract with Red River is terminated or the company quits before the end date five plus years from now, that the city would use fees from the Solid Waste Fund to hire a new trash collector on a short-term emergency basis, then the city would direct private citizens to hire their own private garbage company.

“It’s actually breaking up the government monopoly that Red River has now, and opening it up to the free market, this is what we see in the unincorporated areas of Allen County and garbage is virtually a non-issue there,” said 1st District councilman Paul Ensley.

“It could add to chaos, it could add to more traffic on the street,” said Democrat council member Geoff Paddock.

He says if people hire their own service, it could mean trash cans set out and trucks filing through neighborhoods daily.

What if some residents choose not to hire pickup at all?

“And that means garbage piles up, and we have problems with rodents and of course all kinds of health concerns,” Paddock said.

The resolution, if approved, is non-binding,

Council was set to discuss the measure and take a preliminary vote on it at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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