FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — After Fort Wayne City Council approved a contract with GFL Environmental USA on Tuesday, 5th district councilman Geoff Paddock took members of the company on a tour through his district.
Paddock used the opportunity Thursday morning to show GFL some of the regular problem spots, as a good portion of his district has pickups in alleys, and introduce them to the residents who continually shared their frustrations with the councilman.
Paddock told WANE 15 that while there were misses all over town with Red River, he believes the majority of them took place within his district.
“We’ve got to work really hard at a grassroots level to get this taken care of, and I think GFL is committed to working with me to do that,” Paddock said.
Largely, everyone wants the same thing: their trash and recycling to be picked up on the day they’re scheduled to be picked up. That’s what Nate Hubartt, a resident in the 5th district, told WANE 15.
“I’m hoping that the schedule is regular, that I know when I put my trash out at night that it’s going to get picked up. I’m also kind of hoping that the quality of the service improved a little bit, Hubartt said.
In addition to the misses, Hubartt said he and neighbors dealt with poor service when Red River actually came around.
“[I hope] That when they pick up the trash, a bunch of stuff isn’t left strewn all over the alley and blowing around the neighborhood, and that the carts and things are put back where they were and not damaged,” Hubartt said. “It’s been a not great experience with Red River the last few years. So, just hoping for some improvement.”
Can GFL step in and do the job correctly from day one?
The company’s Director of Municipal Affairs, Sam Caramagno, is confident it’ll be no problem.
“Be assured, we’re going to hit the ground running here. We’ve got people in place to assist, to help, to build this workforce, and we expect it to go very well,” Caramagno said. “It’s not going to be too difficult to handle this job.”
Caramagno called Fort Wayne “nothing we haven’t seen before,” and called GFL a proven service provider citing their work in metro Detroit as proof of their capabilities.
“We have a large commitment to make sure this is done absolutely right,” he said.
Right now, he says GFL is more than halfway to reaching their desired number of drivers, which is 42.
The company’s Fort Wayne General Manager, Jacob Diliberto, has also hired mechanics and maintenance managers already, according to Caramagno.
Caramagno says GFL will do more than just send trucks out to cover the routes. They’ll also deploy smaller trucks they call “mini packers” which can handle small alleys or alleys with tight turns. The small trucks will also be used to handle calls about missed pickups or to reach people who say they set their bins out late.
Additionally, Caramagno said the company will send out route managers daily who will be tasked with insuring their quality of service is what it’s supposed to be.
After the last few years, Councilman Paddock said they had to get this right to insure that all of Fort Wayne will get proper service again.
“This was a contract and agreement that all of us, all nine city council members, Mayor Henry, the solid waste advisory team, and so many others spent hours and hours really looking at very, very carefully. This company was very carefully vetted,” Paddock noted.
GFL Environmental begins trash and recycling service in Fort Wayne on Friday, July 1.