Tuesday night, members of Fort Wayne City Council took care of the formalities needed before the city can transition to a new trash collection company.
Council members voted on a plan to begin transitioning away from the current trash company, Texas-based Red River Waste Solutions, to a new company.
City Attorney Tim Haffner says to have Red River services continue until another company is in place, an insurance company will pay $1.6 million to the city. The city will then pay an additional $300,000 for three months.
Haffner says taxpayer dollars will not be used to help foot the bill.
City leaders say they have someone with a background in this industry employed by Red River who’s in charge of the transition through July 1.
If the plan had not passed, creditors would have taken Red River’s trucks immediately because the company is so far in debt. But the city would not have been able to fully serve all residents with trash collection because it doesn’t have enough equipment.
Councilman Russ Jehl, who wasn’t at the meeting Tuesday, sent WPTA the statement below explaining his frustration with what went on.
“This special meeting was called with only a week’s notice by the Mayor,” said Jehl, who serves the city’s 2nd district. “I regret that I was unable to move previously scheduled obligations and attend. Although tonight the City Administration stated this is a ‘transition agreement,’ it is not. Make no mistake about it, the Mayor’s payout proposal is a termination agreement, with the City paying an unconscionable fee. The City Administration coddled Red River and justified its poor service for four years, allowing Red River to put us in this untenable situation. The Ratepayer, not Red River, is entitled to the proceeds of the performance bond.”
Jehl went on to say that once this transition is complete, he hopes city council and city leaders can be on the same page in the future when it comes to trash collection.