Council requests new Red River watchdog position

Local News

A City Council majority has formally asked the city to create a new position that would track and follow up on missed collections by the city’s trash and recycling contractor.

In a letter to Public Works Director Shan Gunawardena and Solid Waste Director Matt Gratz, Councilmen Russ Jehl, Paul Ensley, Jason Arp, Glynn Hines and John Crawford wrote that after more than a year with Red River in charge of collection of city trash and recycling, councilmembers were still hearing about missed collections from residents.

“For better or worse,” the letter reads, “this is our new normal.”

To remedy the situation, which the councilmembers referred to as “unacceptable” in the letter, Council requested a temporary, part-time employee to take calls and emails about missed collections and follow up and verify misses. The person would act as a liaison between Public Works, Solid Waste and 311.

The salary would be paid out of the fines collected from Red River, the letter said.

The letter was signed by the five councilmembers Tuesday night and was delivered Wednesday. Councilmen Tom Didier, Geoff Paddock, Michael Barranda and Tom Freistroffer did not sign the letter.

Jehl, who first pitched the idea of the position, told WANE 15 he expects Public Works and the administration to look into adding the position.

It’s not known when such a position would begin.

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