Red River Waste Solutions Sign WPTA
(photo courtesy of our partners at WPTA-TV)

City lawyers in Fort Wayne presented a plan to address the trash collection problem at Tuesday’s City Council meeting and some council members were not happy about it. The city says it plans to find a new trash collection provider to replace the troubled Red River Waste Solutions, which filed for bankruptcy last year.

“What’s interesting about tonight is the plan is to pay our captor — Red River — a hefty ransom and somehow be happy about that and believe that somehow things are going to be different,” Councilman Russ Jehl said.

Lawyers say the city would pay Red River within the next four-to-six months to continue their services until they could make another deal with a new contractor. But they say they only get paid if there aren’t major troubles with service.

“The payments that will be made ultimately to Red River assuming we’re able to complete this will be paid in arrears, so there will always be a certain backlog of payment that is owed. If service is unacceptable, we will simply withhold from future payments the money that it would take to compensate the city for the support service it provides,” Corporation Counsel Timothy Haffner said.

The lawyers say the city has seven garbage trucks they can send out in case Red River is falling short on pick ups, but councilmen Russ Jehl and Tom Didier say its not enough. They’re upset that there isn’t a plan to hire a new contractor sooner.

“We don’t need Red River sitting on the bench we need them being productive and doing what’s best for the residents which is picking up the garbage,” Didier said.

“I’m just surprised that after three and half years after council declared breach the only plan that the administration have is to pay a ransom to our captor Red River and expect things to go better for the next six months,” Jehl said.

But city lawyers shot back, saying that bad service is better than no service.

“It’s not our desire to simply compensate red river but to receive quality service and to ensure through the contract that we can get that. This isn’t ransom its just the reality that we need to keep someone in business who has the capability to service,” Haffner said.

Haffner says the city wants to find a new contractor that can transition into providing service at the beginning of July.